Saturday, February 7, 2009

Penne Rigate with Vodka Sauce

I'd had this simple meal in restaurants a few times but never made it myself until very recently. This is a quick and easy Russian/Italian combination and tasty too. Who could ask for more?

3 1/4 inch slices of round pancetta
3 to 4 cups dried penne rigate
1 glug olive oil
1/4 lb butter
4 Tbsp tomato paste
3 oz vodka
6 oz table cream
1/3 tsp pepper
small bunch flat leafed parsley finely chopped

* Note: The pancetta is quite salty so you probably don't have to add any salt at all to the sauce. Taste it and use your own judgment.

Chop the pancetta into small cubes and fry them up in a saucepan for a few minutes. You don't want them crisp, just about half way there. Set them aside.
Heat a big pot of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the penne and the olive oil. Cook until el dente.
Meanwhile melt the butter in the pan. When that is ready add the tomato paste and stir vigorously until it begins to mix. Add the cooked pancetta, the vodka and the cream. Keep stirring until it is well mixed and turn the heat down to low.
The penne by this time should be at least close to ready. As soon as it is cooked, drain it right away.
Put the pasta in the serving bowl, mix in the sauce and sprinkle the flat leafed parsley on top.