Audrey Hepburn was one of the original and best actresses of the last century. She had an ethereal beauty and a sort of grace and warmth you don’t often see any more in Hollywood.
One thing that was not well known about Audrey is that she absolutely loved to cook.
Speaking to Larry King in 1991, a year before her sad death, she said her idea of heaven was being at home with her sons and husband Robert, “and the dogs, a good movie, a wonderful meal, and great television all coming together”.
“I am really blissful when that happens. My goal was not to have huge luxuries. As a child, I wanted a house with a garden, which I have today. This is what I dreamed of”.
In his book, Audrey At Home, her son Luca Dotti explains what his mother was like at home, and that he didn’t realise she was famous.
“When I was growing up there were movie stars coming to the house all the time but we weren’t aware they were famous, when they came over they were just introduced as her friends.
“It was only later that I found out Julie Andrews was Mary Poppins, or who were Roger Moore was”.
In the book, there are recipes of her favourite dishes, rare photos and stories of her life told ‘around the kitchen table’. Luca also reveals that although she was petite, Audrey adored food and ate a lot of chocolate and pasta.
“She had an excessive passion for ice cream, which she ate with a greediness worthy of a mischievous little scamp”, he writes.
This beautiful penne recipe was one of Audrey’s favourites.
Penne alla Vodka
- 1/3 onion or 1/2 scallion, peeled and finely chopped
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 5½ tablespoons (80 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (230 g) tomato puree
- ½ cup (120 ml) good-quality Russian vodka
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 pound (500 g) penne piccole lisce
- 1 ounce (30 g) 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 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 panfry for one minute, tossing to thoroughly coat the pasta with sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.
You can make the recipe lighter by replacing the butter with olive oil and reducing the quantity of cream by half. You can also try these two typical variations, which will make the sauce even richer.
Finely chop 1 thick slice of pancetta, and brown it in the butter with the onion and red pepper flakes. Continue with the rest of the Penne alla Vodka recipe.
Quickly sauté thin smoked salmon slices with butter, chopped onion, and ½ cup of vodka.
Let the alcohol evaporate and add the cream.
Recipe from Audrey at Home by Luca Dotti – available via Dymocks for $49.99
Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers