Saturday, December 15, 2012

Roasted Tomato Penne alla Vodka

We've now been back from San Francisco for about a month. Our trip was a wonderful week filled with great sight-seeing and absolutely wonderful food. The Golden Gate Bridge really is as cool to see in person as you'd think it is. I want to go back, badly. I mean, look at this. It's beautiful.

We both fell in love with the North Beach neighborhood, San Francisco's "Little Italy." The Twin Cities have a lot of really great restaurants, but they truly don't hold a candle to anything we ate in San Francisco. I don't think I've eaten better Italian since I was in Italy. If you're ever there, you should go to Tommaso's.  It's an adorable little hole-in-the wall place - very small, quaint, and cute. Order their lasagna. It's amazing.

And in the meantime, make this Penne alla Vodka. You won't regret it.

Roasted Tomato Penne alla Vodka
Recipe from Rachael Ray, adapted
Serves 4ish

1 lb penne pasta
3 lbs plum tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil, plus drizzles
2 TBSP fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt & pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced fine
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup mascarpone cheese
handful basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange cut-side up on baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme, salt, & pepper.

Roast for about 1 hr, 15 min. Let cool.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions & garlic and season with salt & pepper. Cook until soft, about 12-15 min. Add the vodka and cook until reduced by about half. Add the chicken stock.and roasted tomatoes and heat through.

Stir in the mascarpone cheese, and then, using an immersion blender (or transfer to food processor), puree until smooth and creamy. Add the basil and stir until it is wilted.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, and drain. Toss the pasta with the sauce, and serve. Top with some grated Parmesan cheese.