Pennette Ala Vodka

Happy. Birthday. To. Me.

This was an awesome dinner.  The other half of Two Girls Cooking gave me this recipe last week that she found on The Food Network site.

Jodi went to Las Vegas and had this Vodka sauce at one of the hotels and liked it so much she tried to replicate it at home.

I wanted to have a good dinner tonight for my birthday and decided to try my luck at a new recipe.  This one knocked it out of the park.

The recipe calls for cooked ham (or Italian Ham) and Jodi said she couldn’t find the Italian Ham, so she used Salami.  I didn’t even try to find the ham and searched, instead for the Salami.  What I found was a Wine Salami that has a hint of pink peppercorn (it was a bit on the strong side).  The only complaint that was given on this dish was just that.  The Salami was a bit too much.  Next time I’ll try with either home made meatballs or ham.  But the sauce?  The sauce is so good.

Here’s what you need: (I cut the recipe in half by some)

• 1/2 pound cooked ham (better to use Italian cooked ham) – used the salami

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 1/2 large white onions, finely chopped – I used 1 onion

• 1.3 quarts (700 ml) tomato sauce (or blended canned peeled Italian tomatoes) – I used a large can and a small can of tomato sauce

• 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves

• 1 quart heavy cream reduced by half (1/2 quart) – I almost a pint

• 3/4 cup vodka – I used only a 1/4 cup because of the kids eating it – though I know it cooks through!

• Salt and pepper

I added 3 cloves of fresh garlic

• 2 pounds penne liscie # 40 (recommended: De Cecco) – Use any pasta you like


Finely dice the cooked ham and set it aside.

Place a heavy bottom sautoir or pan on medium-high flame. Add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts and becomes foamy add the chopped onions, let it saute until crispy, and do not let it brown.

Add the diced ham, mix it in, lower the flame and let it sweat for about 15 minutes, stir it occasionally.

Add the tomato sauce, mix it in, let it simmer for another 20 minutes, then add the parsley, simmer for 3 minutes, add the reduced heavy cream and the vodka, mix it all well and let simmer for 20 minutes

Check the consistency, simmer for other 10 minutes if you need to, season and mix in the cooked penne, let it simmer for 2 minutes and serve it HOT!!!

This is another must try dish.

Thanks Jodi for helping make my birthday dinner a success!

Have a great rest of the week.

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking

Cat Cora Invite!!

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Today Jodi and I got a super cool email that we wanted to share with all of our friends and foodie groupies!!  Here’s what the email said:

Hi Jodi and Patricia,

I just discovered Two Girls Cooking, and I was so excited to see your recipe for sweet and sour chicken. I love to cook, but often find myself ordering in, so I was thrilled to find this recipe. A few weeks ago I made chicken curry to take a stab at typical take-out Indian food, so I’m excited to now try take-out Chinese at home! Thanks!!

Anyway, I work with Macy’s, and since I know from experience what a cool blog Two Girls Cooking is, I wanted to be sure to let you know about an upcoming event happening in Edina June 5th. Cat Cora will be hosting a free cooking demo at Macy’s Southdale. She will cook up a few recipes from her new book Classics with a Twist, and then she will be available to sign her book and greet fans. It sounded like something that might be right up your alley. Here’s more of the nitty gritty of the event…

Cat Cora, Macy’s Culinary Council Chef, will host a cooking demonstration and book signing at Macy’s Southdale at Southdale Center in Edina. She will be featuring recipes from her new cookbook Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist.

Both on and off-screen, Chef Cat Cora has continued to make a lasting impression on the culinary community. In 2005, Cat made television history on Food Network’s Iron Chef America as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in November 2006 Bon Appétit magazine bestowed her with their Teacher of the Year Award. That month, she was also honored with another great culinary distinction when she was named Executive Chef of the magazine. In December 2008, Cat launched CCQ (Cat Cora’s Que) at Macy’s new Signature Kitchen restaurant in California’s South Coast Plaza location. Inspired by her own unique barbeque traditions, Cat designed CCQ as a fast casual concept that defines her passion for global BBQ, offering various sauces and flavors. She also opened Kouzzina (Greek for “kitchen”) at Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk Resort, in the fall of 2009. Kouzzina offers a menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine that pays tribute to the Cat’s Greek roots. She has also authored three cookbooks, Cat Cora’s Kitchen and Cooking From The Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals and Cat Cora’s Classics With a Twist, which is set to be released in June.
Cat will be on hand following the cooking demonstration to greet fans and autograph her latest cookbook Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist, which will be available to purchase at the event.

The event is free. Seating is limited. Please call 1.800.329.8667 to reserve a space. For more information, please visit

Saturday, June 5
2 PM


We would be so thrilled if you two would be able to make it out to the event. If you will be able to come, just let me know, and I will set you guys up with a press pass and VIP treatment.  🙂

Also, if you think this is something your readers might be interested in, please feel free to pass the word along to them. Hope to hear from you soon, and again, thanks for the sweet and sour chicken recipe!!

All the best,


How exciting is this?!

So if you’re interested in going, please send an RSVP.   If you’re going to be traveling to the MN area and are interested, RSVP as well.

This is such an honor!


Two Girls Cooking

Chef Cat Cora