About this recipe:Also known as vodka alla penne (or 'penne al pomedoro e vodka' in Italy), this pasta dish that originated in the 1970's uses vodka to balance the richness of a tomato cream sauce and to bring out and enhance the flavour of crushed red chilli.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes
250ml single cream
4 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
450g penne pasta
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Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed chilli and cook, stirring, for an additional minute.
Stir the vodka, passata and light cream into the onion mixture, turn heat to high and bring sauce to the boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in the Pecorino Romano cheese and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Season finished sauce with salt and pepper.
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne and return to the boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well in a sieve set in the sink. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and pour vodka sauce over, tossing to coat pasta with the sauce to serve.