So – this dish is delightful to eat and rather simple (for the kinds of recipes I like to experiment with). It is based on a recipe by Ruth Reichl in The Gourmet Cookbook. When I make it, I make a lot. I like it that much, though. And it’s great for guests.
1 stick of butter
1 large (I mean large) onion
1 1/3 cups of vodka (I like Stolichnaya, myself)
16 oz. heavy/whipping cream
1 1/2 cups tomato puree ( I have trouble finding this frequently, so have used tomato sauce in its place – works just fine)
1/3 lb. cooked ham (or even better, pancetta!)
5 or 6 drops of Tabasco or Texas Pete, etc.
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 lb. penne pasta
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chop large onion (mince it really fine). If you have a chopper, even better.
- Grate cheese with a fine grater.
- Chop ham or pancetta (use the chopper again, if you like)
- Put large pot of water on to boil (for the noodles).
- Melt butter in large skillet.
- Add onions to skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add vodka to skillet and cook for another 5 minutes after returning to a simmer.
- Soon, the water will boil. When it does, add the noodles…
- Add tomato and cream to skillet and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir ham or pancetta, Tabasco, salt and pepper into the skillet. Keep heating on low if noodles are not yet done.
- Once noodles are done, strain and return to pan, reserving a cup of the water.
- Pour sauce over the noodles and mix. If things seem dry, use some of the reserved water to add moisture.
- Add cheese and stir to mix thoroughly.