Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4-pound chunk prosciutto di Parma, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 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 few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preparation

Heat 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 the tomatoes down. Add cream and basil, and reduce heat to low.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water, drop pasta and cook one minute less than al dente. 


Add half a cup of starchy cooking water to the sauce just before draining. Add drained pasta to the sauce and toss to combine; adjust salt and pepper.
 
Serve penne in shallow bowls topped with cheese.


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