Penne Portofino Recipe

Penne Portofino
About: Named after the splendid Ligurian town of Portofino, where the rich and famous dock their yachts and holiday, this sultry shrimp pasta is laced with vodka and crushed red pepper.

Recipe Info

Restaurant: Trattoria La Strada | San Diego

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cuisine: Italian
Meal Type: Dinner
Main Ingredient: pasta
Dish Type: Main Course
Cooking Method: Sauté
Season/Occasion: Any Occasion
Dificulty: Easy
Vegetarian: No


Pennette Portofino

In a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the pennette later, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until just pink, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in vodka and - carefully - light a match to the pan, keeping hair and clothes away from flame. As soon as flame dies down, add tomato sauce, and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in cream, bring to a gentle boil, and cook 2 more minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add pennette and salt, and cook until pasta is al dente; drain. Mix pasta with sauce and sauté for 1 minute, adding salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Tomato Sauce

Heat olive oil in a 1 ½ -quart pot. Add basil and cook for 5 seconds. Pour in tomatoes, season with salt, and bring to a boil; cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 30 minutes. Add salt if needed and toss with cooked pasta, or cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator or freezer.

Tomato Sauce Note:

This basic recipe calls only for olive oil and basil as flavorings. During the summer months, use fresh plum tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes for an even fresher, homey flavor.

Makes about 1 quart.  The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer up to 2 months.


1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil 12 fresh basil leaves 12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined 5 C. peeled, chopped plum tomatoes 3 garlic cloves, minced (to taste) salt 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley (to taste) salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper 1/3 C. vodka 2 C. tomato sauce (see recipe) 1/4 C. heavy cream 1 lb. pennette rigate


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