If you like basil, tomato, cheese and pancetta, then this is for you! Penne alla vodka, an Italian American dish that became popular in the 1980s. The recipe is quite simple to make, using basic Italian ingredients plus of course some vodka. The vodka seems to bind the sauce together giving you a rich smoothness and the alcohol increases the flavour, so don’t flambe it all away. If you can’t drink alcohol, simply leave it out, most vodka’s don’t have much flavour anyway.

I prefer to blend the canned tomatoes for that smoothness that coats each piece of pasta. The artisanal pasta I used with the rough texture, is perfect for that sauce to cling to it.

Always use extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, and good quality canned tomatoes. I prefer the cherry ones, as they have more flavour and usually sweeter in taste.

An easy to prepare amazing Italian meal, minimal ingredients and perfect for any week night dinner, or as in my case, lunch! Bon appetit or should I say buon appetite!