Penne alla vodka
Inspired by: How to Make PENNE ALLA VODKA Like an Italian
Comment: Pancetta is pork belly salted and dried with herbs and spices. Typically, the pancetta used in cooking is dried with, among other things, bay leaf and garlic. Alternatively, you can use smoked or salted bacon and add a bay leaf and a grated clove of garlic or garlic powder to the sauce. An interesting note is to add a little spice to the sauce, in my case 8 small bird's eye peppers dried and reduced to powder (2 per person).
400 g penne rigate
800 g (28 oz) peeled tomatoes (crushed) or canned tomato pulp
1 chopped onion
1 dl full cream (35%)
250 g pancetta, in thin lardons
1 garlic clove or a little garlic powder (opt see text)
1 bay leaf (opt see text)
80 g grated Pecorino Romano (or alternatively Parmigiano Reggiano)
3 dl vodka
Carefully sweat the onion in a little EVOO and a pinch of salt (10 to 15 mins).
Add the pancetta and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the garlic (if necessary), the vodka and let the alcohol evaporate for a few minutes.
Heat the pasta water.
Add tomatoes (crushed), bay leaf (if needed) and S+P (salt probably not needed).
Cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to reduce a little, until the tomatoes no longer have too much juice.
Add the cream, continue to simmer for a few minutes while stirring.
Cook the pasta.
When the pasta is just al-dente, transfer it to the sauce. Add a little of the pasta cooking water (~1 dl) and finish cooking, stirring constantly until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is creamy (if needed, add a little more pasta water ).
Stir in the Pecorino, and serve.