Yesterday I pulled out my favorite cookbook from Beausoleil Books, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, and I decided I was going to challenge myself. I not only wanted to make a delicious meal, but I wanted to make it beautiful. I chose the Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways Pasta and my own version of a pesto caprese salad. I also decided I was going to make one of the Whisper Room cocktails I created: Raspberry Lemon Dream. It all came out so amazing that I had to take a picture before I dove in!
Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways:
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box penne
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, for serving
I started with adding the butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. I continued cooking, stirring often, and then added Ketel One Vodka (they say to never cook with anything you wouldn't drink). I cooked until the vodka reduced, added my crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, large pinches of salt and pepper, and simmered the sauce over medium heat. After about 12 minutes I transferred my sauce to my blender and allowed it to blend until it was a beautiful orange color and pureed texture. I stirred in my heavy cream and allowed it all to simmer. Meanwhile, I boiled my penne pasta in salted water for 12 minutes. I then drained my pasta, added it to the sauce and mixed it all together. I whipped up my caprese salad on the side using butter lettuce, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and topped with a pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Finally, for the final touch I topped my pasta with shredded parmesan and began making my cocktail.
Raspberry Lemon Dream:
1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
5 Muddled raspberries
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz homemade simple syrup
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Voila! That was my yummy Sunday night meal. Stop by sometime to get yourself a Raspberry Lemon Dream and a copy of "Half Baked Harvest Super Simple!"
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