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Playing "You Won't Be Single For Long" Penne Alla Vodka

After making this recipe on Oprah, many women wrote in to Rach telling her that they've gotten engaged after cooking this dish for their boyfriends — hence the name of the recipe: You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta!

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • ¼-pound chunk prosciutto di Parma, cut into ¼-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
  • One 28- to 32-ounce can D.O.P. Italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup passata, tomato purée or tomato sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • A few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Yield
Serves: 4
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.