Yo. The fact that I have not commented on Season 4 of Jersey Shore is ca-razy. First of all: Jersey Shore as a show at all is ridic. Second of all: This group of Eye-talians being filmed in Italy, having never been there before (or any other country for that matter) is ridic. I mean, how many times have they referred to the Duomo as the Vatican or some other prominent Roman architectural location? They don't even know where they are. But who cares? Wherever they are, they manage to find gyms, spray tans, laundromats, and clubs that play house music. And I watch.
I think it is only appropriate to make an Italian-American meal to enjoy while watching the Jersey Shore, even though they are in Italy. Somehow I don't think that the kids are ready for crostini di fegato or pappardelle sulla lepre, so they're probably searching high and low for some chicken parm and sausage and peppas. I figured that penne alla vodka would be perf because they would actually be able to find canned tomatoes in the market (even without being able to speak the language) and you know that the first stop upon arriving in Florence was to the liquor store to stock up on vodka for Ron-Ron Juice. (Nevermind that J-Woww doesn't eat anymore and Snooks will probably have to run up and down the stairs about 50 times to work it all off. Check them out pretending to eat in the photo above!) But hey, I'm not on TV, so I'm going to make a plate and enjoy!
Penne Alla Vodka
One (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their liquid
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed hot red pepper
1/3 cup vodka
1 pound penne
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Briefly process the tomatoes with a series of quick pulses just until they are finely chopped.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully (they will splatter) slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Just before the pasta is done, pour the cream into the tomato sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, drain the pasta from the boiling water and add it directly to the sauce in the skillet. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary.
6. Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.