Penne Alla Vodka & Garlic Cheese Bread

23 Jan

I am a pasta addict; it’s as simple as that. If you put pasta in front of me I’ll eat it. Probably because I’m Italian, probably because until I started expirimenting with cooking it was all I could make, but definitely because it’s YUMMY!!!

I’ve been pretty busy lately so I’ve been making super simple meals. Last night I made a simple, though delicious Penne alla Vodka. What’s not to love? Noodles – love, tomato sauce – love, cream- love, garlic – love, vodka – love!

Penne alla Vodka
Ingredients
– 24 oz. tomato sauce (store bought marinara or your own stand-by tomato sauce; I used my standard pasta sauce that I keep frozen)
– 3/4 cup vodka
– 1/2 cup heavy cream at room temp (I didn’t have so I used 1/2 and 1/2 – still good though!)
– 1/2 cup grated parmesan
– 1 lb. penne noodles
Directions
– Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in heavy skillet over low heat until mixture reduces by about 1/4 (15 minutes-ish)
– stir in the cream
– Simmer on low until heated through
– Stir in cheese until well blended and melted
– Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente
– Drain Pasta and add to sauce
– Toss to coat noodles with sauce
– Top with a few chopped basil leaves for garnish.

I served this with a side salad and an even easier garlic cheese bread similar to the bread at our favorite pizza places around town:

Garlic Cheese Bread
Ingredients
– 1 loaf french bread (I cheated and used Pepperidge Farm – the 5 Min. Hot and Crusty kind), sliced in half long ways
– a few slices of Provel Cheese (found in St. Louis but any cheese you like can be subbed)
– a little I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter
– 1 clove of garlic
Directions
– rub the garlic on the bread
– spread a little “butter” on the garlic rubbed bread
– add on cheese
– Bake at 425 for 5-8 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is to desired crispness

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