Hodgson Mill Recipe Blog

 Print Friendly and PDF

Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce

You can tell spring is on the way when bright green asparagus starts appearing in the produce section of the grocery store.  Asparagus is generally available year round, but spring asparagus is crisper, grown stateside and is more of a spring green than the wintertime variety. Some of my favorite spring  dishes use asparagus, like Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus in Lemon-Cheese Sauce,Grilled Vegetables with Whole Wheat Couscous and Lemon-Butter Chicken and now this Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce.

 My family doesn’t have gluten free needs, but the Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne with Golden Milled Flax Seed tastes great and is such a good way to include healthy Omega-3 oils in our diet, I couldn’t pass up the chance to use it in this dish.  Let’s get started!

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne until just tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

 Coat the asparagus lightly with olive oil and grill it in a grill pan on the stove or outside on a barbeque grill.  I used a grill pan because my husband said it was too cold to be outside (he’s in charge of grilling).  Hopefully it won’t be much longer before we can get back to cooking outside.  You can also blanch the asparagus or briefly roast it in the oven. 

 Once the asparagus is grilled on all sides and crisp tender (about 8 minutes), remove it to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.  Cut the asparagus into 1-inch long pieces and set aside. 

 Next, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the pancetta until it’s brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  I usually cook a little bit extra, so there’s plenty to nibble on as I prepare the rest of the meal; one of the many perks of being the family chef.  Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Set aside.

Pour out all but one tablespoon of the pancetta drippings from the skillet and add the leeks to the pan. 

Sauté the leeks until soft (about 3 minutes) and then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Carefully pour the vodka into the pan and boil until reduced by half. 

Vodka is added to this sauce to enhance the flavors of the tomatoes and leeks.  Most of the alcohol burns off during the cooking process, but what’s left over helps give the tomatoes a more robust flavor and makes the leeks taste a bit sweeter.  It’s okay to leave the vodka out if you prefer, but the sauce won't have quite the same richness and deep flavor without it. 

Stir in the tomatoes, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes (to taste).  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  

Add the basil, pancetta and asparagus to the sauce and cook over low heat for a few minutes or until heated through.  This sauce not only tastes delicious, the smell that envelops your kitchen as it simmers is divine.  If your family is like mine, they’ll be begging you to announce it’s time for dinner.  

Scoop the pasta onto individual plates and top with the sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Time to eat!

 I couldn’t be happier that spring vegetables like asparagus are showing up in the grocery stores, especially because I can use it in delicious pasta recipes like this Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce. The creamy tomato sauce is bursting with flavor from the pancetta, leeks, garlic, basil and asparagus and takes on a rich, deep flavor with the addition of a splash of vodka.  Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne with Golden Milled Flax Seed not only add some healthy whole grains to this dish, but also tastes great and is an excellent alternative to gluten based pastas.  Be sure to keep an eye out for fresh asparagus in your local markets so you can cook up a little taste of spring with this Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce. It’s a delicious way to celebrate the changing seasons and eat your veggies, too.   Enjoy!

 

Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 box Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne
  • 1 large bunch (about 2 cups) asparagus, grilled and cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 6 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 small leek (white and light green parts), rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne until just tender, 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Coat the asparagus lightly with olive oil and grill it in a grill pan on the stove or outside on a barbeque grill.  Once the asparagus is grilled on all sides and crisp-tender (about 8 minutes), remove it to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.  Cut the asparagus into 1-inch long pieces and set aside.  Next, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the pancetta until it’s brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Set aside. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the pancetta drippings from the skillet and add the leeks to the pan. 
Sauté the leeks until soft (about 3 minutes) and then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Carefully pour the vodka into the pan and boil until reduced by half.  Stir in the tomatoes, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes (to taste).  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the basil, pancetta and asparagus to the sauce and cook over low heat for a few minutes or until heated through.  Scoop the pasta onto individual plates and top with the sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Notes

Asparagus can be blanched or briefly roasted in lieu of grilling if desired.

Servings

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Adapted from Gluten-Free Makeovers, by Beth Hillson

You can find Gluten Free Penne with Pancetta and Asparagus in Vodka Sauce and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.


 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Holly






b i u quote

Save Comment

Showing 0 Comment
Copyright © 2014 Hodgson Mill. All Rights Reserved.
1100 Stevens Avenue, Effingham Illinois 62401
>