Hibernation Penne alla Vodka

I'm really great at hibernating.

Hibernating means sweatpants, giant pots of coffee, and eating all day long. With Hurricane Sandy visiting us for a few days this week, I was given the opportunity to practice my hibernation skills.

Since we knew about this weather event for nearly a week before it showed up, I got to watch people panicking as they bought cases of water, cans of beans, and endless amounts of batteries. I accidentally went to Whole Foods on Sunday and let me tell you ... in a hurricane people need their hummus and designer yogurt. Concerns for a power outage did not seem to make it to the Whole Foods patrons.

When Hurricane Irene visited in 2011, I prepared by buying pancetta and collecting all of my Friends DVDs. We subsequently lost power for nearly a week. It was terrible. This time around I shockingly didn't prepare much differently. Here is what I considered my supplies:
  • prosciutto
  • nutella
  • rice cakes
  • coffee
Also, I had 3 types of cheese obviously. Mozzarella, feta, and parmesan. In an emergency, I obviously need cheese.

I survive by eating. I love to cook. So this is what I cooked and ate for two days:
  • Spinach and Lentil Soup
  • emergency Peanut Butter Molasses cookies
  • French Toast
  • grilled cheese with a side of macaroni and cheese
  • Penne alla vodka
  • Chocolate Fudge Brownies
oh and wine. We had wine.

In between answering work emails and playing with powerpoint, we watched many hours of DVDs. Having been a business major in college, Baby Sister had to "translate" while we watched Persuasion, a British Romantic Drama. 

But, here is how you make a quick Penne alla vodka.

(Step 1) In your dutch oven or big pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add prosciutto. Cook until crisp, which will be about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

(Step 2) Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, stirring to combine, and sauté for 2 more minutes.

(Step 3) Stir the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, sugar, and salt into the onion mixure. Stir in the vodka and increase heat back to medium-high. Briskly simmer for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the alcohol flavor has cooked off.
(Step 4) Reduce heat to low and whisk in heavy cream. I opted for milk instead of cream, because I didn't have cream ... and given the menu for the previous 3 days could use a "healthier" option. You can do what you want.

(Step 5) At this point, I was really excited to eat ... since it had obviously been 2 hours since my last meal. But, I  wanted the sauce to be more "liquid" and less "chunky"... so I just whipped out my immersion blender and got it to a consistency that matched my expectations.

The recipe that I followed was for about 4 people, which meant .... LEFTOVERS! So, I just whipped out one of my friendly mason jars and threw the rest of the sauce in the fridge for another rainy day. One point for me.

(Step 6) Toss the cooked pasta (yep, do this while you make the sauce) in the sauce and add in the crispy prosciutto you made earlier. Serve with grated or shaved parmesan.

Shopping List
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used milk)
Parmesan cheese, for serving

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