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Michael Roberts over at Arkansas Foodies posted this incredible recipe for Penne alla Vodka featuring yours truly. I have every intention of giving this hearty classic a try this weekend – it looks so good it made me actually think about having pasta for breakfast! Check it out, give it a try, and definitely take the time to browse around the rest of the blog – Michael has some really incredible recipes posted. Truffled hamburgers anyone?

Penne alla Tito’s Handmade Vodka

2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cans crushed tomatoes (15 oz. cans)
1/2 cup Tito’s Vodka
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (plus extra for finishing)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the shallots until they are soft (but not browned). Add the garlic and red pepper; cook for a minute longer. If you’re cooking with gas (or are clumsy) you might want to remove your pan from the heat and add the vodka and your tomatoes, add salt. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce thickens (4-5 minutes). Stir in the Parmesan and the basil and adjust salt if needed. Toss with 16 ounces cooked penne and sprinkle a bit more Parmesan over the top. Serve.

The rich flavor of the cream and Parmesan along with the tang of the tomatoes and the bite of the pepper and vodka really make this dish something different. The prep time is minimal, and feel free to add sausage, bacon, chicken, or shrimp to the mix if you need some protein – but the sauce certainly stands on its own! Enjoy!

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