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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vodka Penne

Disclaimer!!:  Please keep in mind this blog is intended to be lighthearted and fun and to simply recall memories associated with food, drinks, and recipes!  I do not condone underage drinking or the consumption of alcohol before high school functions!

There are many moments/days/events to which we looked forward to in high school.  This list included, but was not limited to the following: Howdy Week, The Battle of Bryant Irvin, Homecoming, Canwick, senior off campus lunch, the Senior Trip, the ISAS Fine Arts Festival, graduation, and, of course, Junior/Senior Prom. 

Before we knew it, it was senior year.  The AP tests, finals, football games, and our Senior Trip to Playa del Carmen had all come and gone.  It was suddenly May and time for Junior/Senior Prom.  Out of the 93 graduating seniors, 43 of us had gone to school together kindergarten through senior year.  Thirteen years is a long, LONG time to be with each other.  (Although I will insert a shout-out to my 20 year girls- I don't know where I'd be without Whitney, Keri, Chaney, Samantha, Kate, or Frances!)  Our same senior boys who all of the freshman girls thought were so cute in their khaki pants, boots, and white button downs, were the same boys who we senior girls had seen picking their noses in first grade at Camp Write Along.  To put it quite frankly, we wanted something new.  So, five of my best girlfriends and I decided to ask boys from other schools.

Chaney, me, Kaitlan; Samantha, Kate, Whitney
Since it was us girls asking the boys to prom (how gauche, right?), we decided to save some money and have dinner at our friend, Samantha's, house.  Our parents and the boys met us girls over at Sam's that night, and we had a nice little dinner planned out.  Little did our parents know that we also had decided to stash our underage supply of liquor under Sam's bathroom counter.  ("Yes, mom, I have to go to the bathroom again, let me be!") So all throughout dinner, we were sneaking off to the bathroom and making drinks so we could be good and ready for prom.  Maybe we could have pulled it off, too, if our parents hadn't decided to take our pictures in the front yard.  All of the girls' heels were sinking in the grass, and, as if that isn't difficult enough sober, we had a few drinks in our system, too.  Just picture us stumbling around in our long prom dresses, giggling the whole time and chewing mint gum and quickly as we could.

So, off to prom we went- limo and all- and had a marvelous time.  The Fort Worth Club was decked out in vines, trees, gorillas, and parrots for our jungle-themed Havana Nights prom, and we spent the night dancing and planning where to go afterwards.  We piled back in the limo and headed back to Sam's house, not knowing we were in for quite a surprise.  We arrived home to six sets of very annoyed parental units.  Apparently, our suspicious parents had good noses and could detect our (not-so-discrete) beverages (despite the mint gum chewing), and they had raided our stash.  Although they were "disappointed in our decisions," they still let us go to the after-party.  Relieved we weren't in more trouble, we grabbed our overnight bags and headed out to our friend's house and land in Aledo.

Matt, Kate, David, Kaitlan, JM, Chaney, Whitney, Corey, Samantha, Palmer, me, Kyle

As soon as I got in the car, I checked my overnight bag- Score! My vodka filled water bottle was still in there!  Take that, mom and dad!  One point for me!  My Gatorade mixer had made it, too- I was ready to party.  After being at our friend's house for about an hour, I looked at the water bottle of vodka that my best friend and I were sharing, and it was empty.  "Whitney!"  I said in horror, "We've drank a whole water bottle of vodka in 30 minutes!  We're gonna be sick!"  "Yeah, I know," said Whitney, "But, strangely, I don't feel like it's affected me at all."  Surely those whole 8 ounces each would kick in soon, right?  Wrong.  It never did. 

Baffled by my new-found high tolerance, I told my mom the next morning, "I feel fine!  I thought I'd feel awful, but I don't!"   My mom started laughing instantly, and I remained clueless.  As it turns out, our parents had raided our overnight bags.  My mom told me that she went through my bag and said "Oh, good, all Kate has in her bag is this bottle of water! That's responsible of her!"  Then Sam's (not-quite-as-naive-as-my-mom) mom took the bottle, opened it, smelled it, and said, "That's not water- that's vodka."  Oops, I guess the Dasani bottle wasn't as clever as I'd thought.  So, unbeknown to us girls, my mom and Sam's mom poured out the vodka and filled the water back up with water.  That's right- Whitney and I were drinking watered down Gatorade all.  night.  long.

Well, 7 years later, I still drink vodka drinks, and I have heard of people using it in their cooking.  In an effort to find something different that's Italian-y and pasta-y, I found a recipe for Vodka Penne.  Vodka?  In pasta?  Quite frankly, it sounded disgusting.  I love vodka/waters, vodka/tonics, vodka/cranberries, vodka/pineapples, bloody marys (maries? marys?), and screwdrivers, but those are all drinks.  How does liquor pasta work?  Well, I figured if liquor could work in meatballs, making Bourbon Meatballs, then surely it could work in pasta.  So give this one a go if you're looking for a twist to the typical pasta dish.  Just make sure you're using vodka and not water when you make the sauce!

Vodka Penne
Weight Watchers
Servings: 9, Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 9

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp canned tomato paste
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 12 oz uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 20 leaves basil
  1. Heat large skillet over medium to large skillet
  2. Add butter, shallots, and garlic
  3. Saute until shallots start to caramelize (3-5 mins)
  4. Add parsley, sea salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally
  5. Add tomato paste and mix to make a paste
  6. Cook for appr. 5 min, stirring occasionally
  7. Add vodka
  8. Scrape bottom of pan to mix all ingredients and cook appr. 5 mins
  1. Bring medium pot salted water to boil
  2. Cook pasta in water accordingly
  3. Drain water from pasta
*Then! Back to the sauce pan...
  1. Add cream to the tomato sauce
  2. Reduce heat to low, simmer appr. 3 mins
  3. Add pasta to sauce, mix to coat
  4. Top with basil & season with salt & pepper to taste

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