Penne a la Vodka is the third installment of the Healthy Cooking on the Cheap Series and is a perfect recipe for entertaining. I’m even making this delicious dish tonight for the very person who is designing the new Hartley Confections Logo! This may explain why the design of the blog has been changing the last few days. I’m working on some Hartley Confections branding that will provide a cleaner look and a better interface for all of my loyal readers!
So hopefully my soon-to-be-named guest will agree that my Penne a al Vodka is the perfect suggestion for a somewhat healthy and inexpensive meal for entertaining. Another great thing about this dish is that you can substitute the ingredients for items you already have in your kitchen or leave out ingredients that you don’t like or don’t have. I opted to use fresh canned tomatoes opposed to tomato sauce and half and half instead of heavy cream to cut back on calories. I DO NOT recommend using whole milk as a substitution as it greatly dilutes the sauce which produces a bland end result. I also like to incorporate a green vegetable to make the meal heartier and more nutritious.
I hope you enjoy my variation on this Italian favorite. Please submit any interesting variations or suggestions you might have to add to the flavor of this dish! Pictures will be posted tomorrow.
- 8 oz Dried Whole Wheat or Flax Seed Penne (or pasta of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (or butter)
- Pancetta (optional)
- 1 clove garlic chopped (about 1/2 tablespoon Minced Garlic)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup Vodka (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Half & Half (or heavy cream)
- 1/4 cup green onions
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, diced on an angle
- 1 Ziploc Steam Bag
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)
1. Begin to boil water for pasta in a medium saucepan. While the water boils, dice your garlic, green onions, pancetta (if included), and asparagus.
2. Heat olive oil or butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add garlic and pancetta, and sauté 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes. Remove from heat (so that the alcohol doesn’t splatter) and stir in vodka. Return to heat and simmer 5 minutes.
3. Once water begins to boil, drop in the pasta and cook according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, stir in tomatoes and basil and simmer 5 minutes. And while tomatoes simmer, heat the asparagus in a Ziploc Steam Bag according to package directions.
5. Top with Parmesan cheese and black pepper; serve immediately.