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Bloody Mary Penne with Parsley Breadcrumbs

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American


This delicious pasta dish is great for busy weeknights, using up the leftovers from an old loaf of bread for a crunchy topping instead of the usual shower of parmesan. Use a veggie Worcestershire Sauce for an all-vegan dish.



For the Bloody Mary Penne

  • 200g (7 oz) Penne
  • 1/2 tbsp Light Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Golden Caster (Granulated) Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Celery Salt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 7 Dashes Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp Vodka or Gin
  • 1 x 400g (14 oz) Can Chopped Tomatoes

For the Crunchy Parsley Breadcrumbs

  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Handful Breadcrumbs (freshly made from a stale loaf work better than panko here)
  • 1 Small Handful Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water for about 2-3 minutes less than the packets instructions – you want it to be very al-dente, as you’re going to carry on cooking it in the pasta sauce. Set aside, reserving 50ml (scant 1/4 cup) of the cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium high heat. Once it is hot, add the breadcrumbs and fry for a few minutes until all the oil is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are golden. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, and remove the breadcrumbs from the pan.
  3. Wipe the pan clean with a piece of kitchen paper before making the sauce. Heat 1/2 tbsp of light oil and gently fry the onion until just soft and starting to brown a little around the edges. Stir in the golden caster sugar, celery salt, garlic, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco.
  4. Add the vodka or gin. Standing well back, using a long kitchen match set fire to the pan. Don’t be frightened of the flames; there will not be any smoke, your food won’t burn, and it will go out of it’s own accord once all of the alcohol has been burnt off.
  5. Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Use the set aside pasta water to swill any remaining juices out of the can, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes before stirring in the drained penne. Cook until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened to coat the pasta.
  6. Serve divided between two warm bowls, topped with an extra-generous sprinkling of parsley breadcrumbs.