‘Quick and easy’ Chef shares must have ingredient for pasta

This Morning: Donal Skehan cooks vodka penne pasta

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Chef Donal Kehan appeared on ITV’s This Morning today to treat hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary with a “gorgeous” pasta dish. To the presenters’ surprise, Donal added a well-known alcoholic drink into his pasta sauce mixture.

Donal cooked up a storm in the This Morning studio’s kitchen, showing viewers how to make vodka penne ragu.

“It’s like the classic vodka penne, which is creamy and rich,” Donal explained.

The chef decided to make the dish with a twist, by adding pork and fennel to it.

He said: “It’s absolutely gorgeous and very simple to do.”

As well as the pasta and the ingredients for the sauce, Donal had cut up slices of sausage to add more substance to the dish.

The most bizarre ingredient on the chef’s kitchen table, though, was vodka.

But the spirit “does make a difference”, according to Donal. He said: “It intensifies the sweetness, it makes sure the balance of flavour is right.

“You can do it without the vodka of course, but then you’ve got a creamy pasta sauce and that’s it.”

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Vodka does “the same job” as wine, Donal said, but “because vodka is a much more higher percentage it does intensify the flavour [more] – that’s the theory behind it”.

The chef continued: “The theory here is that I’ve made this a little bit more exciting, a little bit more Friday night, with a bit of fennel sausage. It’s a very simple way of bulking it.”

After finely slicing garlic, Donal added this into the frying pan with the pork sausage, before “bashing up” some fennel seeds, and adding tomato purée.

Next, he added “a big splash” of vodka to the mixture, before mixing everything together with a wooden spoon.

He then added a tin of tomatoes and a dollop of cream, explaining that the mixture now needs to be simmered for 25 minutes.

During this time, the vodka is burned off so that the dish is not alcoholic.

To finish, Donal chopped parsley and prepared the parmesan.

The last thing to do was to empty the penne into the sauce and then, everything into a bowl, ready to be served.

Donal sprinkled the parsley and the parmesan on top of the meal for both presentation and taste.

“It’s a quick and easy dish,” the chef repeated. “Very simple.”

The ingredients to Donal’s recipe can be found in any UK supermarket.

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