I made this ridiculously easy and mouth-watering dish last night. Everyone in my family gobbled it up. My picky 3-year-old even asked what was in it, amazed that it could be so good. The 1-year-old wiped it all over his face and head, hoping to absorb it through his skin. I totally get it. If it weren’t so messy, I might have done the same.
Recipes for this classic dish vary, but the one below is how my brother and I prepare it. And it is fool-proof. Buon appetito!
- 1 pound of penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 oz diced pancetta (I use Citterio Cubetti Pancetta)
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons of butter, divided
- 1 cup of vodka
- 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more for sprinkling, optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente
- In a large saucepan that will be able to hold all the pasta and the sauce, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to crisp
- Add 1-tablespoon of butter and the shallot. Cook until shallot is soft and translucent, but not brown
- Melt the remaining butter in the pan
- Raise the heat to high and add the vodka. Bring to a quick boil and simmer for 2 minutes
- Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, crushed red pepper, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the pan of sauce and toss
- Add the grated cheese and mix everything together well
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top