Penne a la Vodka

Keeping things simple in quarantine does not mean that the food we make has to lack flavor. This penne a la vodka has just a few ingredients, most of them pantry ingredients, and is a much more exciting dinner than regular old spaghetti. Not to mention we could all use a little extra dash of vodka these days! Our recipe is different from other vodka sauce recipes because we cook the vodka down separately before adding the tomatoes. This helps smooth out the vodka taste so that there’s just a hint of it compared to other bolder tasting variations. We love to serve this creamy pasta as it is, but also bulk it up with slices of chicken or chicken sausage for a complete meal. 

Penne a la Vodka 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes   Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb penne pasta (we used Trader Joe’s brown rice penne) 
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 1/2 cup vodka 
  • 1- 28 oz can tomato puree 
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 4 basil leaves, chiffonade 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a large soup pot over high heat to bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 8 minutes depending on the pasta you have chosen. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1/2 cup of pasta water with a measuring cup and drain the pasta in your sink. Set aside. 
  2. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, letting the pan get hot and until the butter starts to bubble. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. 
  4. Add the vodka to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes to burn off most of the alcohol.
  5. Add the tomato puree to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook another 7 minutes.
  6. Add the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese to the tomato sauce. Stir and keep over medium heat until the cheese is melted. 
  7. Add the pasta water and pasta to the pan. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve hot with chopped basil and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, for garnish. 

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