Penne al Cognac

Penne al cognac

Tomato Sauce + Cognac = bliss

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before…Afer all – Tomato Sauce + Vodka = bliss and Tomato Sauce + Red Wine = bliss. It should have occurred to me.

But it took a recipe from A Cook’s Tour of Italy to make me see the proverbial light. If you’re looking for a new sauce to put on pasta, this is the perfect place to start. The cognac blends ever so well with the tomato sauce, giving a depth to the sauce that’s atypical of most tomato bases sauces out there.

This here recipe is my first recipe from the Umbria region of Italy. Yes, yes, I know. I haven’t talked about Umbria as of yet. I’m getting to it…really.

  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 lbs penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Chopped Italian Parsley (fresh)
  • Grated pecorino cheese

In a sauce pan, heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over medium low heat. Add pepper flakes and allow to get to a warm temperature. Whisk in the cognac and bring to a simmer. Cook at said simmer for 15 minutes, give or take.

In a separate pan, bring pasta water to a boil over medium heat. While boiling, add penne and cook for 12-15 minutes (or according to directions on the box).

While pasta is cooking, add half & half to the tomato sauce and continue to simmer (185 degrees F). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and pour into a serving bowl. Dress with olive oil and allow to sit. Pour in half of the tomato sauce and coat the pasta. Spoon in a small bowl or plate. Top with a ladle-ful or two of the unused sauce. Top with parsley and cheese…although be careful with the amount of cheese used, as it may overwhelm the taste of the sauce.

Serves 8-12

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