Marinara Redux & Jacob’s Penne alla Vodka

“What does the vodka do in Penne Alla Vodka? It is a key ingredient in penne alla vodka. The vodka’s function is, ostensibly, to release flavors in the tomato that are normally inaccessible; using alcoholic beverages for this purpose is common in Italian cooking, although usually accomplished with wine.”

Another “Need Must” at the cooking club and in my kitchen this week:  Jacob and his soon to be famous “Penne a la Vodka”…one of the many things that you can make when you have a good homemade marinara or jarred one if you prefer, example, a vodka sauce.  I made the marinara over the weekend and my recipe was previously posted so we are ready for a few “saucy” dinners at a moment’s notice.   

I was hands-off for this creation and Jacob did a fantastic job with his added ingredients to the marinara…1 cup heavy, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup vodka, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons butter, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.  If you have already made your marinara heat it, heat a small pan to briefly sauté the garlic, add it to the sauce add the vodka, simmer for 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, stir in the heavy cream, grated cheese, and simmer for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken.

Cook the penne according to package directions …

Pour sauce over hot penne, sprinkle parsley over and serve with extra cheese. Serve a nice salad and a warm crusty loaf of bread.

Thanks for dinner, Jacob