Penne alla Vodka with Bacon

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 3:00 AM, November 15, 2012

Aired November 15, 2012

Serves 4
2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 pound pancetta or guanciale or bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 small fresh chili, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup stock
1 28- to 32-ounce can plum tomatoes
A few leaves of basil, torn
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound penne rigate
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat EVOO in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add pancetta, guanciale or bacon, and crisp at edges, 2-3 minutes. Add onions, garlic, bay, chili and thyme; cook to tender. Add tomato paste, stir 1 minute then add flour and stir a minute more. Add vodka then stock, tomatoes and basil. Break up tomatoes and simmer. Add cream and cook 30 minutes at a gentle bubble.

Cook pasta to al dente in salted boiling water; reserve 1/2 cup starchy liquid. Drain pasta, toss with sauce and starchy water. Remove from heat, toss with a handful of cheese and serve.