Tonina’s pasta a la vodka
This is one of my mother’s inventions. I don’t think the addition of Vodka is vital but my mother would disagree.
- olive oil, enough to coat bottom of a large skillet
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more if you like) red dried chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or a few canned roma tomatoes, crushed)
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms, white or oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup of vodka
- 1 pound of ground chicken or a combination of ground chicken and veal
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (I say optional but my mother would have said this is a must)
- parmesan cheese, grated
- 500 gm penne pasta or fusilli
- salt to taste
Heat the oil & butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chili flakes, and salt and cook until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
Add the mushrooms and parsley, cook for a few mins then tomato paste. Oil should look golden at this point. Add the ground chicken and when slightly browned, throw in the vodka. Allow the vodka to reduce a little. (Or just cook it for a few mins or so)
Add the cream and let gently simmer until sauce is bubbling and nice and creamy. At this point my mum would also throw in a chicken stock cube just for extra flavour so you can do this too. Otherwise, adjust seasoning according to your own preference.
Boil the pasta until al dente in salty water (about a heaped tablespoon of salt). If you feel bad about adding all that salt, please don’t. Italians do this all the time; they say it should be as salty as the sea.
Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
serves 4 – 6