Saturday, July 25, 2009

Penne alla Titos

I love dishes with creamy tomato sauce, and the fact this recipe calls for a cup of Tito's vodka makes it even better. Don't worry, this sauce does not have an overpowering vodka taste, it is wonderfully smooth and creamy sauce that will make you want to literally lick you plate. You can use any pasta you like with this sauce, spaghetti, shells, just imagine how great gnocchi would be. For Jim, I added a sliced chicken breast on top with a healthy sprinkle of parmesan.

Ingredients to gather: Pasta (whole wheat penne for this recipe), Vodka (Tito's is my preference), Tomato Puree (I used a combination of tomato paste and canned crushed tomatoes), Onion, Butter, Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Parmesan Cheese, Heavy Cream and Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts.

Let's begin this wonderful pasta dinner by cooking the pasta! Use 1 lb pasta and prepare according to package directions. I filled a large pot with water and seasoned well with salt, set heat to high and when the water boils I stir in the whole wheat pasta and let boil for 8-10 minutes. Be careful NOT to overcook it.

While water boils, lets prepare the sauce, beginning with one onion.

I always wear these cute pink onion goggles, I swear by them. Dice an onion.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat.

Add onions, cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Add 2-3 minced garlic cloves.

Allow this to cook for two more minutes, turning down heat if it begins to burn.

After two minutes, add one cup of Tito's vodka.

Let this mixture cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will begin reducing slightly.

Next, stir in one can of tomato puree. I used a small pouch of tomato paste.

And because I like a little texture in my sauce, I added an entire can of crushed tomatoes.

Important: turn the heat to low.

Grab half and half or whole cream, depending on how your arteries are feeling and slowly stir in one cup.

Make sure the heat is very, very low and then sprinkle in a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. This is optional if you can’t HANDLE the heat, but I would recommend at least a light sprinkle.

I purchased this Truffle and Salt mixture on my last trip to Napa Valley. I tend to add a small pinch to most dishes these days, and found it absolutely irresistible on a grilled cheese.

Stir, taste, and season as needed. I added a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acidity of tomatoes in the sauce.

When the pasta is finished cooking, strain, and add to the sauce. One reason I like penne in this recipe is because I feel like the tubes fill with the sauce instead of just coating the pasta.

No pasta dish is complete without a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Because Jim would look at me crazy if I tried to serve a meatless dinner, I baked a few chicken breasts in the oven. To do this, I simply rinsed and patted dry the chicken, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with S.P.O.G. (salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder) and then baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Let the chicken rest for five minutes after pulling out of the oven before slicing.

Spoon the pasta and sauce into bowls, top with sliced chicken and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.

Delicious and filling. This can be served within 30 minutes from start to finish making it a wonderful weeknight meal.


  1. I soo needed those goggles tonight. I just cut up 3 Spanish onions and was crying my eyes out!

  2. Your pages are really hard to read, the reverse type. Plus, it would really help if you print the recipe itself in traditional form, that way we can copy over to print and cook from. Like your site!


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