Thursday, May 12, 2011

Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce

Here is a deliciously quick weeknight tomato cream sauce that doubles as an impressive dinner party main dish!  
As I stated in a previous post: Don't be afraid to cook with alcohol when serving children.  Made properly, foods cooked with alcohol are perfectly safe to serve to little ones. The dish should be cooked long enough, usually several minutes, for the alcohol itself to evaporate, leaving only harmless trace residues and the concentrated flavor of the wine or beverage used. Cooking with wine, beer, sherry, and spirits can greatly enhance the taste of some dishes, acting as a flavor conductor to heighten the taste of all the ingredients.

Prep Ahead Plan:  The tomato cream sauce can be made a day ahead of time.  Keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat and serve over the penne!

Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce
1 pound penne
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 t crushed red pepper (or more if your family likes a little heat!)
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup vodka
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I like to chop up a little parsley and mix it with the basil if I have it)

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile..
2. Saute garlic and red pepper in the olive oil.
3.  Add tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
4.  Add the vodka and cream to the tomato mixture and bring to a boil again.  let it boil for several minutes in order for the alcohol to evaporate.  
5. Reduce heat and stir in fresh herbs.  Serve over penne!

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