Jan 122011

This is my favorite dinner to make. It is spicy, creamy, hearty and almost obscenely indulgent. I like to serve it to company because it’s deceptively easy for how delicious it is. However, I often make it for just a regular dinner because it reheats well and can feed us three times in one week.

You will need:

1 cup vodka (use good stuff, it makes a difference)
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
olive oil
2 Tblsp butter
1/2 onion (Vidalia sweet preferred), chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt
italian seasoning
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 package penne pasta

To make:

Combine vodka and red pepper flakes and refrigerate for at least an hour.
In large saute pan or stock pot, brown chicken in olive oil and butter over medium heat. When browned, add onion and garlic (and more olive oil, if needed) and continue to saute until onion is transparent. Add kosher salt and italian seasoning as desired. Reduce heat to low and stir in tomato paste, then add diced tomatoes. Simmer over low heat about 25 minutes, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to about half.

bubbling

After mixture is reduced, return heat to medium and add vodka-pepper mixture and heavy cream at the same time, in a steady stream.

swirling

Cook the sauce over medium heat for eight to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. While the sauce cooks, boil the penne according to the package. Add parmesan cheese to the sauce (I like to grate it directly over the pan). Cook another 2-5 minutes.

Drain pasta and put in a bowl. Pour the vokda sauce over it and stir to coat completely.

eat me!

Plate and serve. (Pair with a salad to feel less like a glutton).

plating

This is a great meal for the winter, and can easily be made vegetarian by ditching the chicken. The vodka cooks out, so don’t worry about alcohol content, but the carbs will straight up put you to sleep, so I wouldn’t plan on going out after chowing down.

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