I went to the grocery store last night with the intention of trying something new but all the avocados were like hard little rocks. Luckily, I have had Penne Vodka memorized since high school so I went with that instead. YUM! And, you know me – I added in some chicken to up the protein factor. This made five even servings for me and with that you come to 593 calories per person, according to My Fitness Pal.
12oz gluten-free penne
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably one with deep sides as you will use it to make the sauce). Slice the chicken into one-inch strips and cook through. When slightly browned on either side take out and shred. I love this because I have an issue wherein I am forever convinced that the chicken isn’t cooked through. This alleviates my fear as I can SEE that it is done.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook as the label directs.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in the same large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes, then add the red pepper flakes. The original recipe suggested that you crush the tomatoes with your hands but my OCD simply won’t let me do that so I added them to the pan at this point and broke them up with the wooden spatula I use for all my cooking*. Add in the vodka and allow to simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Parmasean cheese is pretty salty on its own but taste to see if you want to add some salt.
Drain and then add the pasta and chicken to the sauce and toss to combine. Serve topped with more Parmesan. I am horrible about using fresh herbs but if you have any, it would be great to top this with some basil.
*It occurred to me that I basically still cook as I did when I was a kid. One knife (even though we have a full set), one spatula (even though I have all the OXO products you could ever want) and one pan (easier to clean!). I’m almost 40 so I don’t see this changing anytime soon.