Have you ever heard the mantra that the recipes with the least amount of ingredients require you to use only the best components? Well, it is true! In this case, I am talking a recipe for Penne alla Vodka made with Greatest Tomatoes From Europe canned tomatoes.
Pantry Staple: Greatest Tomatoes From Europe
Canned tomatoes are one of those staples that I always have in my pantry. Along with good olive oil, I pay attention to the brands I choose for canned ingredients as well. So when I received a message from the team representing the Greatest Tomatoes From Europe about their initiative to educate consumers on choosing the best canned tomato products for their recipes, I was all ears.
“Canned preserved tomatoes are produced by a traditional process that keeps intact all the flavor of the fruit, picked at the peak of its ripeness and aroma”. From a nutrition standpoint, we know that tomatoes are naturally low in sugars and fats but rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, minerals, fibers and antioxidants like lycopene, making them a good choice for our bodies. Plus, the Mediterranean diet is recognized as one to follow by nutritionists.
Quality Control for Greatest Tomatoes From Europe
Just like with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano, where the products are grown makes a big difference. The European Union adopted policies to protect the quality of foods including tomatoes called the Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) for the pomodoro S. Marzano DOP dell’agro sarnese-nocerino. Factors that play a part in the quality of the tomatoes include the richness of the soil filled with potassium carbonate, the efficiency of the water system and that the tomatoes are grown in close proximity to the sea. These all favor the growth of tomatoes, particularly the elongated cylindrical variety which are ideal for canned whole peeled tomatoes. In fact, these tomatoes are canned as they are harvested so they remain in their own juices and then vacuum sealed.
Penne alla Vodka: Key Ingredient
When I opened the can of Pomodoro tomatoes, the first thing I noticed was how thick the juice was. In other cans of tomatoes that I have used, it was a more watery liquid which results in a diluted tomato flavor.
Penne alla Vodka using Greatest Tomatoes From Europe
This recipe is one that I make often for guests as I can adjust to add a protein or keep it vegetarian. During our recent dinner party, I asked them what they tasted most in this dish. The unanimous reply was the depth of the tomato flavor. Thanks to the Greatest Tomatoes from Europe, I have a new pantry staple! The brands to try are included in this list.
Kitchen Tools to make the Penne alla Vodka
I made this dish in one of my favorite pans from All-Clad called the Cassoulet. There are so many uses for it as its size works for side dishes or main courses. And of course, grating Parmigiano Reggiano means you need an easy to use grater like this microplane. Finally, if you go back and look at the “About” section of Inspiring Kitchen, I talk about my love of colored spatulas. Well, Get It Right or GIR, is a woman owned company that makes the most useful silicone kitchen tools in colors that I just love. From the ladle to the variety of spatula shapes to the silicone pan liner, this is a great brand to have in your kitchen.
Penne alla Vodka
- 16 ounces Penne Pasta
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 8 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/4 cup Olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes crushed
- 1 tsp Dried basil
- 1/4 cup Vodka
- 1/3 cup Heavy cream
- 3 tbsp Butter unsalted
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 32 ounces Greatest Tomatoes from Europe canned peeled, whole tomatoes
- Bring stock pot with 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water. Cook till al dente about 8-10 minutes. Drain once pasta is cooked.
- Open canned tomatoes and carefully pour into food processor. Pulse juice and tomatoes till pureed.
- In a separate pot or Dutch Oven, add olive oil and heat on low heat. Mince garlic cloves. Add to warmed olive oil. Saute till garlic is brown. About 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently. Don't let the garlic get too dark as it will burn quickly.
- Carefully pour pureed tomatoes into sauteed garlic. Oil may splatter, so don't pour from above the pan.
- Stir tomatoes, garlic and oil until they come to a low boil. Add basil, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Add vodka reducing heat. Stir.
- Add cream and mix. Add butter and blend. Add pasta to pot. Stir to combine. Add parsley.
- Take pot off heat. Add parmigiana reggiano cheese saving 1/4 cup to sprinkle across the top of each individual serving. Enjoy!