When P and I first lived together in an adorable garden cottage in Kensington, we cooked from Trattoria more than any other source. With Wells' recipes, we christened our newly acquired domestic tools: knives, dishes, and pots and pans. Penne with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce became a staple item - it is easy to make and comforting to eat. Wells can make even a novice cook feel like a pro.
My mom's Bolinas garden is lush with edibles these days. Her green thumb helps produce veggies that are vigorous and delicious. She sent me home with bounty from her first garlic harvest. The cloves went right into this pasta dish. And I harvested just enough parsley in our own garden to use. The rest has beautifully gone to seed. I ended up throwing some parsley blossoms on top of the leftover pasta and they were wonderfully peppery. If your own parsley has gone to seed, give the blossoms a try.
Note: I've found that this dish can be made ahead of time and reheated covered for about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I think I even prefer the baked version to the freshly made dish. Yum!
adapted from Patricia Wells' Trattoria Cookbook
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- sea salt
- tomato puree ( 28 oz)
- 1 pound dried Penne ( GF folks I am a huge fan of BioNatura Pastas)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves cut with scissors
Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt water until it tastes like the sea.
Place garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt in an unheated large saute pan. Turn heat to medium and cook for a few minutes until garlic is golden but not at all crispy. Stir in tomato puree. Simmer for about 15 minutes and sauce has thickened.
In the meantime cook Penne.
Add cooked pasta to the now thickened sauce in the large saute pan. Stir pasta to coat with sauce. Add Vodka and stir again. Add Cream and stir again. Cover pan and turn heat down to low. Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving. Season again with salt to taste.
Serve topped with fresh chopped parsley and/or parsley flowers.