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January 23, 2008

Penne Alla Vodka & Garlic Cheese Bread

I am a pasta addict; it's as simple as that. If you put pasta in front of me I'll eat it. Probably because I'm Italian, probably because until I started expirimenting with cooking it was all I could make, but definitely because it's YUMMY!!!

I've been pretty busy lately so I've been making super simple meals. Last night I made a simple, though delicious Penne alla Vodka. What's not to love? Noodles - love, tomato sauce - love, cream- love, garlic - love, vodka - love!

Penne alla Vodka
Ingredients
- 24 oz. tomato sauce (store bought marinara or your own stand-by tomato sauce; I used my standard pasta sauce that I keep frozen)
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup heavy cream at room temp (I didn't have so I used 1/2 and 1/2 - still good though!)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 lb. penne noodles
Directions
- Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in heavy skillet over low heat until mixture reduces by about 1/4 (15 minutes-ish)
- stir in the cream
- Simmer on low until heated through
- Stir in cheese until well blended and melted
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente
- Drain Pasta and add to sauce
- Toss to coat noodles with sauce
- Top with a few chopped basil leaves for garnish.

I served this with a side salad and an even easier garlic cheese bread similar to the bread at our favorite pizza places around town:

Garlic Cheese Bread
Ingredients
- 1 loaf french bread (I cheated and used Pepperidge Farm - the 5 Min. Hot and Crusty kind), sliced in half long ways
- a few slices of Provel Cheese (found in St. Louis but any cheese you like can be subbed)
- a little I can't Believe it's Not Butter
- 1 clove of garlic
Directions
- rub the garlic on the bread
- spread a little "butter" on the garlic rubbed bread
- add on cheese
- Bake at 425 for 5-8 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is to desired crispness

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