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Best Italian Cook: Penne alla Vodka by Lorin

by Keith Brunell - Dallas, TX | Written on February 10, 2012

While in graduate school, I loved getting invited to my friend Patty’s home for dinner because they are from Italy and know how to cook! Her Grandmother would always make the most unbelievable Penne alla vodka – the best I’ve ever had! The fabulous smell when you walked in the house overwelmed you, and you knew the greatest family feast was about to be served. Now with a family of my own, we are still huge fans of Penne alla vodka. We always picked out the peas, and I couldn’t help wondering what it would taste like if I added some cremini mushrooms, prociutto, garlic and my own spices to revamp a traditional dish.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 thick slices domestic prosciutto, chopped into small pieces to equal 1 cup
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
8 tablespoons butter, divided
12 oz. fresh cremini mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/8 teaspoon crushed chili pepper flakes
½ cup quality vodka
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 ½ boxes penne pasta
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Saute the onions for 5 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and prosciutto and cook for another 2 minutes. Next add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan.

2. Stir in the oregano, basil and pepper and simmer for 1 hour.

3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Saute the mushrooms and pepper flakes until the mushrooms are golden.

4. Take the skillet off the heat and slowly add the vodka, cooking on low for 5 minutes.

5. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. When hot, pour the cream mixture into the tomato mixture and stir. Simmer the sauce to blend the flavors while cooking the pasta.

6. In a large pot add 6 quarts of water and Kosher salt. When rapidly boiling add the pasta and cook about 15 minutes. Drain very well other wise your sauce will be watery.

7. Melt the other 4 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet. Pour in the pasta to glaze. Add the parmesan reggiano cheese and mix well. Stir in 1/3 of the sauce mixture. Top each plate with some additional sauce.

VOTE NOW!

  • Melbobtux

    this needs to be added to the “classic pasta menu” so I can get one to take home!

  • Melbobtux

    this needs to be added to the “classic pasta menu” so I can get one to take home!

  • Jtomb1005

    how many does that reeipe srve?

  • Jtomb1005

    how many does that reeipe srve?

  • Guest

    Not a fan of mushrooms but this looks so good, I’m willing to overlook the mushrooms! :)

  • Guest

    Not a fan of mushrooms but this looks so good, I’m willing to overlook the mushrooms! :)

  • Nvmccs

    I would definitely order this!

  • Jerry Hagemann

    I would definitely order this.  Even the name sounds delicious.

  • Ladybed

    I’ve never eaten penne alla vodka because of the potential calories, but this doesn’t seem any more caloric than the other recipes featured and to me seems likely to taste better!  In fact, it is making me hungry!

  • Kathyshalleck

    This recipe sounds so delicious!    Yes, would like this one to take home, too!

  • Swebb

    Flavorful dish.

  • Ljrutan22

    This was on the menu the last time we were there but it wasn’t on the take home menu.
    It’s my favorite

  • Jerryvaliquette9

    Love this
     

  • Gigicinello

    Yum!!!!

  • J Geihsler

    This HAS to be added to the menu!!!!!!

  • J Geihsler

    This HAS to be added to the menu!!!!!!

  • SarahtheSLP

    Yum Yum Yum Yum Yummmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!!

  • SarahtheSLP

    Yum Yum Yum Yum Yummmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!!

  • Jan Waldron (post as Royale 8)

    This sounds Delicious!!!  Love pasta, mushrooms, cheese & vodka and all together, It sounds Dee-Licious!!!   Would love to try it in the Res’t. and agree would be a good dish to take home also.

    Yum!!!!

  • Jan Waldron (post as Royale 8)

    This sounds Delicious!!!  Love pasta, mushrooms, cheese & vodka and all together, It sounds Dee-Licious!!!   Would love to try it in the Res’t. and agree would be a good dish to take home also.

    Yum!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1219776720 Gina DiVito

    One of my all-time favorites!

  • Angela Williamson in CA

    I would definitely order this pasta dish & can’t wait to try it at home!

  • Angela Williamson in CA

    I would definitely order this pasta dish & can’t wait to try it at home!

  • Guest7

    Seems too heavy, yes, anything will taste good with 2 cups of heavy cream..I wish they add the calories of each dish, it is not just about the taste, but what’s in it.  

  • Guest

    Looks great.  I would love to try this.

  • Johnnyp50

    I agree needs to be added to classic pasta menu.

  • T Sagan

    Hey!  It’s almost vegetarian.  Thanks.

  • Postcookee

    This recipe sounds great. My family loves Creamy Pasta Sauces, this is a Keeper.

  • Cleoball

    Looks like what I will have this evening during my birthday celebration.

  • Cleoball

    Looks like what I will have this evening during my birthday celebration.

  • K@J Smith

    My husband and I absolutely love alla Vodka sauce, we would definately try it!

  • Art

    The  Best Penne anywhere!

  • Kargallagher

    looks delicious!

  • Kargallagher

    looks delicious!

  • Anne

    cant wait to try it!

  • marsha

    Wow, makes my mouth water reading it!!!  Hope it makes the menu!

  • Rosabaker

    Bella! Want some now!

  • Jmgill9

    I would love this!

  • Clwteeth

    I agree that this should be on the classic pasta menu to order one and take one home.  Also would like the option to add some meat to this dish like italian sausage or grilled chicken.

  • Jshimpock

    sounds yummy!

  • Jjgrice55

    cant wait to try it!
     

  • Herbsophie

    I want this one.

  • Don’t use my name

    Sounds very good

  • Foreca

    This sounds very good!

  • Mbdb

    One of my all time favorites, can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  • Realtor Chris

    This sounds amazing, and also a manageable recipe for the home cook.

  • Hannigan60

    Sounds fabulous!

  • Jcmoore3530

    I would LOVE to try tis at Maggi’s!

  • Lisatyler00

    yes add this one!!!

  • Suzyq51

    Would love to try this.

  • Stefanie

    I would love this to be added to the menu!

  • Mary Lounsbury

    I would like to have one now and take one home

  • Mary Lounsbury

    I would like to have one now and take one home

  • Donna Bong

    That sounds really awesome and definitely something I’d consider ordering from the menu… :)

  • Laurie34

    This sounds amazing and I really hope it will be on the classic pastas menu since they don’t have anything else with vodka sauce on that part of the menu.

  • Veena Kapur

    I love pasta, it looks delicious, i will definitely try this

  • ED

    I’II TRY IT ON VALENTINES DAY! LOOKS GREAT.

  • Gretahov

    This should be on the classic pasta menu to order one and take one home.  Also would like the option to add some meat to this dish.

  • Samaljack

    ALWAYS WONDERFUL!!

  • Pasquaberry

    This sounds great and I would love to take one home.  Needs to be on the classic pasta dishes.

  • Qdowns

    This sounds pretty swell….perhaps even w/ an option of some seafood morsels of lobster or shrimp…?? Could tide one over nicely.
    (w/ plenty of your good bread to sand wich away any leavings of sauce…not that I would be seen  
     doing such… w/ long nails…).
    ps – perhaps a fewchewer Maggianos addition of a red and white checkered gym in the back would help, too… 

  • Anderobin1

    We love Penne Vodka and while this recipe is close to mine (minus the green peas) we loved  it!!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5KRQWM7DRSVKAWTBM4PHKIIU5E Janet

    I vote for this one but you can leave in the peas for me.

  • Tlchairse

    I make a dish similar to this and its always a favorite…so I can only imagine how delicious Maggiano’s version is!

  • Jcostabile60067

    I ‘m Italian, and I know whats good, this pasta is gooooooood !

  • JOE P.

    LOVE  IT  ******LOVE  IT********

  • Mblevins48

    Please add it to the classic pasta dishes!!!!

  • Marbella

    Sounds delicious except for the hot chili pepper.  Too many recipes add eother too much black pepper or red or chile pepper and those of us with pepper issues can’t eat them.

  • Svsteckert

    Sound scrumptous.  Lots of pasta and cheese!  Who can resist?  Sonia

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Janice-Panting/1566911740 Janice Panting

    I’ve enjoyed a prior tomato/cream  vodka sauce (with gnocchi) — and it was fabulous!  Thanks for the recipe as I’ll try it at home — except, it is soooo much more fun to eat it at Maggiano’s! Beautiful atmosphere, GREAT food — who could ask for more?

  • guest

    I made a version of this for my significant other and gave the recipe to family and friends. This one looks like a winner ! It should be on the regular menu. I will try it soon !

  • Notanurse248

    This one is the best, add to pasta list,,,please

  • Toporm

    Where is the beef?

  • mslogan

    sounds delicious

  • Nary

    yum yum

  • Hellenh

    I would love to vote, but I don’t do social media, and, therefore, could not vote for the Penne Pasta a la Vodka, thank you. hellen hoffman

  • MaryAnn

    I would Maggiano’s to stick to the traditional Vodka Sauce with Eight finger, or regular cavatelli. Nothing, no peas, no mushrooms, just this Fabulous Vodka Sauce over al dente 8 finger gnocchi or cavatelli. I’m salivating…. & coming to Maggiano’s this week. xo yum

  • Alexis

    I’dlike to vote for the lowest fat content, but there is no way to find it out!

  • Alexis

    I’d like to vote for the lowest fat content, but there is no way to find it out!

  • Momof4CO

    Chicken would be great in this!

  • Janet

    I’m voting like most others – PLEASE put in with your classic pasta menu  dishes. 
    I may put  a little sauted onion, but no meat with Vodka sauce.

  • Angela

    Here’s one more vote to add this to Classic Pasta menu. 
    It sounds wonderful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heike.werlinger Heike Kraushaar Werlinger

    Yummy! Grilled chicken would be awesome with it.

  • Mary Fran

    Yes I would like to see this on the classic pasta menu with a choice of hot sausage or chicken !!!!!

  • Dr5731

    Great meal have enjoyed it a few times

  • XPHALCON

    Has anyone actually tried making this, and give an honest opinion on the recipe?  And, just because someone is Italian, does not automatically assure that they are a good cook.  

  • http://blog.maggianos.com/2012/09/pasta-lorin-best-italian-chef-contest-winner-2012/ Maggiano’s Chef’s Table

    [...] a family from Italy, they knew how to cook! Her grandmother would always make the most unbelievable Penne Alla Vodka [aka Pasta Lorin], the best I’ve ever had.  The fabulous smell when you walked in the house [...]

  • Alyicegt

    I’m going to try to make this dish with a less fat.  Will substitute 1/2 & 1/2 for the heavy cream and a low fat butter.  Will let you know how it turns out.  Dish sound great but way to much cholestrol for me.

  • Pamela Peeler

    Any suggestions to replace the vodka, since I don’t drink alcohol?

  • FoodPornNation

    OMG YUM i love your version! Must try it

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