Aired July 22, 2014
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 pound prosciutto di Parma ends, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small rib celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup vodka, such as Tito’s organic
1 28- to 32-ounce can D.O.P. Italian tomatoes
1 cup passata, tomato purée or tomato sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
A handful tarragon leaves, chopped or a few leaves of basil, torn
1 cup fresh shelled or defrosted organic frozen peas
Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and render 2 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper; partially cover and cook until very tender, 10-12 minutes. Add vodka and reduce by half. Add tomatoes and passata, and simmer 20 minutes to cook tomatoes down. Add cream and tarragon or basil and reduce heat to low.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water, drop pasta and cook to al dente.
Add peas to sauce to heat through. Add half a cup of starchy cooking water to the sauce just before draining, add pasta to sauce and toss to combine, adjust salt and pepper. Serve penne in shallow bowls topped with cheese.