Birthday dinner

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.  ~Ernestine Ulmer

Yesterday, I posted the birthday cake and gelato recipes as we took our birthday soup hiatus.  Today I wanted to share the recipe for our entree:  Penne Pasta with Chicken and Vodka Sauce.  I based my recipe on a version of Vodka Sauce found on the Great Chicago Italian Recipes site.    This pasta turned out rich and delicious and worthy of a birthday celebration.

Penne Pasta with Chicken and Vodka Sauce

3 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cubed
5 cipollini onions, peeled and quartered
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 oz. of vodka
3-15oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 lb. penne pasta (I had to use rigatoni.)
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in oil and sauté chicken for about 8 minutes.  Add onions and sauté 5 more minutes.  Add peppers and garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add vodka and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes until vodka reduces slightly.  Next, add tomato sauce and cook for about 10 minutes longer.  (Cook pasta during this time.)

After 10 minutes, add cream and mascarpone cheese and stir until cheese in melted.

Simmer for around 15 minute more but do not bring to a boil.  Add pepper and salt if needed. 

Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan.

Birthday dinner is served!

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