I’ve got my head down making last minute tweaks to the Columbo cookbook – my goodness what a lot of work!  It’s fun though, and I haven’t quite started panicking yet.  I’m putting cooking on hold a bit and trying not to be tempted by fabulous new recipes that keep popping up in my periphery.  I recently got hold of a copy of Chasen’s, Where Hollywood Dined by Betty Goodwin…

as I’m including the Chasen’s chili recipe in the book, and I wanted to check the original.  It’s a lovely book and there is a recipe in this book for a fish dish named in honor of Alfred Hitchcock I am DYING to try.  

I’ve decided to just write the names of all the recipes I want to try out after the book is done on my kitchen blackboard.  That way, as soon as the book is published (20th Feb!), I can get myself back in there rattling my pots and pans.  Here’s what is on the agenda so far…

For now, I’m doing what my friend Sarah Akrobettoe calls “convenience cooking”.  This mostly involves grazing on things like this:

Or having Pickle-ALEy on toast.  That counts as one of my 5 fruit and veg a day, right?

However, the other day I got a mad craving for Audrey’s vodka pasta.  If I get a craving for a particular movie star recipe, I see it as a SIGN that I need to have it.  It was quick to make and was delicious.  OK, Italian readers should probably look away now.  I had brussels sprouts with my pasta.  Weird?  Yes, but I needed some greenery!

I forgot about the Parmesan, but the dish was still delicious without it.

I wrote a little piece about the book this recipe springs forth from, for Eat Drink Films a while ago and you can check that out here.  It’s’ a lovely book, highly recommended.

Here’s Audrey’s recipe…

Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

  • 1/3 onion or ½ scallion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • tablespoons (80g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (230g) tomato puree
  • ½ cup (120ml) good quality Russian vodka
  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 pound (500g) penne piccole lisce
  • 1 ounce (30g) Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

In a large skillet, sauté the onion and the pepper flakes in the butter over medium heat. Add the tomato puree, reduce the heat to low, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the vodka. Cook down for 15 minutes and add the cream. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a handful of coarse sea salt and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, drain in a colander, and add to the sauce. Turn the heat to high, and pan fry for one minute, tossing to thoroughly coat the pasta with sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

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