This quick and easy penne pasta dish has a gourmet touch but is as easy as can be!
Leftover Pasta? Use It Here
Have you ever made too much pasta? I know that answer because many times I do just that.
Since I’m loathe to throw away any food, I actively look for things to make with it. Sure, pasta salad is always the first thing to come to mind, but that gets pretty old after a while. Soup is another possibility but it’s not a bad thing to think out of the box on occasion and try to use that leftover pasta in a more novel way.
And here’s a great way to use it!
Gourmet But Easy
My long-time readers know that any time I find something easy but with a gourmet flair, I’m a happy camper. If it can be made in one pan, I’m even happier. I often joke that I’m old, decrepit and lazy. Thing is there’s a lot of truth spoken in jest. The older I get, the less I want to fuss, yet I want to eat something that’s more or less “whole” food and tasty.
I would say wanting to eat real food that takes a minimum of fuss would fit into most folks’ lifestyle. Busy working moms and dads can appreciate this point more than anyone. We arrive at the same point starting from opposite directions.
So here you have a gourmet penne (or any tubular pasta) dish that’s speedy, uses economical ingredients and you get to use up any leftovers. It takes one pan and it’s ready in about 30 minutes.
Vodka? But I Don’t Drink
Neither do I, but I cook with wines and liquors. The vodka gives this penne a distinct flavor–a slight bitterness–so I would say you’re missing out on that flavor note if you omit it.
However, I do understand that some people just don’t want to include anything alcoholic in their diets. You can substitute chicken, vegetable or beef stock for the vodka and you’ll still have a great-tasting dinner.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 cups cooked penne pasta -OR- any tubular pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and saute until cooked through
- Add beef, salt, and pepper, cooking until the beef is browned through
- Place in the pan the crushed tomatoes, vodka, sugar and chili flakes. Bring the heat up to high and let simmer, stirring until the sauce reduces by about half.
- Add the cream and mix thoroughly
- Add the pasta and stir as the sauce thickens and covers all the pasta. Top with fresh parmesan cheese.
*Adapted from The Spruce Yum