Penne A La Vodka With Crispy Prosciutto

I love vodka sauce for not tasting like vodka. I'm not sure why precisely it's in there — I thought Italians were wine people — but vodka sauce sounds so much better than tomato-cream sauce. For those of you with teetotaling children, worry not — the booze cooks right off, leaving only the delicious memory of grain alcohol. Found in so many supermarket jars, vodka sauce is among the simplest sauces you can make at home to near-guaranteed success.

This technique for crisping up delicious, porky prosciutto works wonders for anything that could use a crunchy element. They're like bacon bits sprinkled down from heaven, and make an excellent garnish along with some good-quality parmesan for this super-easy weeknight dinner.

Penne A La Vodka With Crispy Prosciutto
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  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • 1 pound penne
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Arrange sliced prosciutto on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until dark red and very crispy, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  3. In the meantime, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan and cook shallots and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and vodka, stir well and simmer for 10 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
  5. Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese and stir until sauce thickens, add salt to taste, then remove from heat.
  6. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and return to pot.
  7. Crumble cooled prosciutto with your hands to create shards.
  8. Toss pasta with sauce and divide into four bowls.
  9. Garnish with parmesan cheese and crispy prosciutto and serve with crusty Italian bread. 
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