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Penne alla Vodka in Crispy Parmesan Bowls

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6 servings


  • 3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded

  • 1/2 lb. penne or other short pasta

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 6 oz. tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 cup vodka

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

  • 4 oz. burrata

  • basil for garnish


  • Parchment paper

  • Non-stick cooking oil spray


  1. For the Parmesan cheese bowls, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay the parchment paper on a 9 x 13 in. baking sheet. Spray the parchment paper with a non-stick cooking oil spray. Place a handful of Parmesan cheese onto the parchment paper and spread into a flat circle, about 5 inches in diameter. Bake for 5-7 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble.

  2. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently remove the Parmesan from the parchment paper with a spatula. Place the melted cheese over an upside down bowl to mold the Parmesan bowl. Let cool until the Parmesan bowl holds its shape and repeat for the remaining bowls.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat and sauté the chopped shallot until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a further 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

  5. Add the tomato paste and salt to the pan. Stir and let sit on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste deepens in color.

  6. Add 1/4 cup of vodka to deglaze the pan. Stir until the vodka has fully evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.

  7. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and Parmigiano. Add more salt to taste.

  8. Once the water is boiling, add plenty of salt. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.

  9. Strain the pasta and add it to the pan along with the vodka sauce and 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss on high heat until the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed, 1/4 cup at a time.

  10. Plate the pasta in the Parmesan bowls. Top with burrata, basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


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