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Author Notes: I'd been making this traditional pasta dish with the vodka for years as one of my go-to weekday recipes, adjusting this recipe from Lidia Bastianich (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-alla-vodka-106042). One night I was cooking and realize we were out of vodka, but I continued without. No one noticed a difference. After I'd made it at least five times without vodka, I told my husband, and he was shocked. This is an easy-to-memorize recipe that appeals to children, and simple to make as mild or spicy as you like. —Michelle Kessler
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Heat the oil on medium with the red pepper flakes. Cook the garlic in oil until golden.
- Pour the garlic into a blender with the tomatoes. Blend until a thick sauce.
- Cook the sauce on medium until slightly thickened. Add the cream and cook until hot.
- Toss with 1 pound penne, cooked to al dente. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.