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Rigatoni with Vodka-Cream Sauce and Pancetta
1 lb of rigatoni
1/4 lb of pancetta, diced
1 T of extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup of onion, finely chopped
1 can of 28 oz chopped tomatoes (undrained), use whichever brand you like. I'm partial to the imported from Italian brands
1 bay leaf
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 c of vodka
3 T of heavy cream
1 cup of loosely chopped basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Cheese of choice (romano or parmesan) for grating
You can add some mild Italian sausage as well, to this recipe. Just saute it before putting it into the sauce or bake it, if that's more your style.
Place a pot of salted water on to boil for the rigatoni.
Sauté the pancetta in a large pan over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add the olive oil, garlic and onion and continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent. Lower the heat to medium, add the tomatoes, bay leaf and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Stir the vodka into the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the bay leaf.
While the sauce simmers, cook the rigatoni according to the package directions and drain. Stir the cream and basil into the tomato sauce and cook just long enough to heat through and wilt the basil, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and toss to coat with the sauce.
Plate each serving, drizzle on a bit of extra virgin olive oil and top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Makes 4 servings