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 


  • 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 


  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. 

Angel Hair with Confit Tomatoes & Burrata

Yesterday we posted a detailed recipe about how we confit cherry tomatoes during the spring and late fall to help give out-of-season tomatoes a flavor boost. We infuse them by cooking the tomatoes low and slow in the oven in a bath of olive oil, garlic, and herbs to help bring them to life. These little blistered gems are great for storing in the fridge and freezer so that they are available to us on a whim. One of our favorite uses of them is for pasta. The fresh tomatoes give a nice remix to traditional pureed tomato sauce and are already super flavorful from the garlic and herbs. We top the angel hair with fresh burrata and basil for the ultimate simple dinner. If you’ve made the tomatoes in advance, dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes.

Angel Hair with Confit Tomatoes & Burrata

Makes: 4 servings

Total Time: 20 minutes if you have made the tomatoes in advance; 1 hour 20 minutes if you have not


  • 1 lb angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups confit tomatoes with their oils and juices
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 package burrata (usually comes with two balls)
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan. Sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is starting to crisp and become fragrant. Add the white wine and confit tomatoes to the pan and cook another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat of the pan to low until the pasta is finished.
  2. Heat a large stock pot with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook the angel hair according to package directions, about 4 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the water from the pot before draining the pasta. Drain in the sink and throw the pasta directly into the tomato pan. Increase the heat to medium high.
  3. Use tongs to toss the pasta in the tomato sauce so that the pasta is coated with the sauce. Add the pasta water as needed if the tomatoes and oil seem too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the pasta in a large, family style bowl. Top with the burrata, basil, and another drizzle of olive oil.

Semi-Homemade Lobster Ravioli With Shrimp & Spinach

A few days of quarantine and social distancing has proven to be quite the challenge for our mental health. It’s hard to feel like we all aren’t going a little crazy in the midst of the world’s chaos. In order to bring some normalcy back into our lives, we created this ravioli recipe. It is simple in ingredients but elevated in taste and presentation. Just the act of eating a composed plate has helped us feel a little less out of our heads and more like we are participating in the real world.

This semi-homemade recipe involves just a few ingredients but really ups the game on what dinner looks like. We have taken pre-made lobster ravioli and combined it with shrimp, spinach, and a lemon cream sauce to create a recipe that feels a little more sophisticated in the days of freezer meals. As always with our recipes, substitute the ingredients you have on hand if you can’t find these in your grocery store. Frozen shrimp and frozen spinach are easy substitutes for fresh and any cheese flavor ravioli will be great in this recipe if you can’t find lobster ravioli in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Lobster Ravioli With Shrimp & Spinach

Makes: 2 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 packet lobster ravioli (about 12 in a package)
  • 16 shrimp (about 3/4 lb), peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 6 cups packed fresh spinach (substitute 1 package frozen)
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, 1 tbs garlic, and spinach and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. You don’t want the spinach to wilt away completely, you just want to cook out most of the water. Remove the spinach from the pan onto a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the second tbs of olive oil to the pan. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook the shrimp 3 minutes per side and remove them from the pan onto the plate with the spinach.
  3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook according to package directions.
  4. While the ravioli are cooking, add the remaining tbs of oil to the saute pan. Add the remaining 2 tbs garlic and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and white wine to the pan. Whisk to combine and cook another 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the heavy cream, Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When the ravioli have finished cooking, remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place directly into the lemon cream sauce. Toss well to coat before adding the spinach and shrimp back into the pan. Cook another 2 minutes so that the flavors can combine. Season as necessary before serving.

Chilled Sesame Noodles

We love a good Asian-inspired noodle dish about as much as we love anything in this world. No matter what type of restaurant we are dining at, if noodles are on the menu, we will always partake. One of the problems with dishes like drunken noodles or pad thai is that they do not typically reheat well and creating these types of recipes for a crowd can be a struggle to cook everything at the exact right time so that it comes out tasting fresh and texturally correct. Our solution to this problem is to serve the noodles we cook for more than a few people chilled. This allows for a more relaxed preparation and on a day we are having friends over, we can actually enjoy the company and the food.

The key to any chilled dish is seasoning the heck out of the ingredients. A recipe served chilled tastes significantly less seasoned than the exact same dish served hot. For that reason our dressing packs a punch. If you are making these for a particular meal we suggest serving them at room temperature right after cooking the noodles. If you want to make them for meal-prep and have this as a weekday lunch, chill the noodles completely before adding the other ingredients. This will help the vegetables stay fresh for a day or two before eating.

Chilled Sesame Noodles
Makes: 4 entree servings
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for the Noodles:

  • 1 lb noodles- we used pad thai noodles but soba are a great choice too
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced in half horizontally and then into thin matchsticks
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs+ Sriracha or other chili paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • salt to taste


  • Heat a large pot of water on the stove top. Bring to a boil and cook the edamame, from frozen, according to package directions (approximately 4-5 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the pot and set aside.
  • Cook the noodles according to package directions, about 6 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing.
  • Mix the ingredients for the dressing (sesame oil – ginger) in a small mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine and season with salt. Set aside.
  • Drain the noodles from the boiling water. Run the noodles under cold water until they are luke warm to the touch if you are serving right away, until they are cold if you are making this to serve later.
  • Add the noodles and dressing to a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine as the pad thai noodles can become sticky. Add the edamame, bell pepper, and carrots to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Season as needed and top with cilantro and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Fun fact. Tate’s mom made this pesto using the Beaba baby food steamer and processor. In this season of life, making baby food regularly, it made the most sense to re-purpose kitchen tools that were already in use. Regardless of process, we were able to create a pasta dish that is easy to make and tasty for the whole family. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it can easily be made dairy free by not adding any Parmesan cheese while serving.  Healthy, simple, and delicious? We call that a weeknight win.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Makes: 4 servings 
Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients for Pesto:

  • 1 head of broccoli (feel free to buy a package of broccoli florets instead)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for Pasta:

  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta (we used cavatappi)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half 
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Steam the head of broccoli over a pot of water or in a steamer (or in the Beaba) for 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender when poking with a fork or knife.
  2. Transfer the broccoli to a blender and add the remaining pesto ingredients (cilantro – red chili flakes). Blend until you get a smooth consistency. Depending on your definition of “bunch”, you may need to add more olive oil. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Cook the pasta al dente per the package directions. Rinse the pasta with cold water and add back to the hot pot that you cooked it in. Add the pesto and toss so that the pesto thoroughly coats the pasta. 
  4. Place the pasta in a serving dish and add chopped tomatoes and Parmesan. Serve warm.

Tofu Peanut Noodles

hen Tuck’s parents first started dating, Tuck’s dad did not eat Asian food. The Neistat girls (Tuck & Tate’s moms) believe they were Asian in another life, that is how much they crave dishes like pho, sushi, and Chinese dumplings on a regular basis. So, you can imagine, that when Tuck’s dad refused to eat Thai food late after a baseball game, Tuck’s mom nearly had a meltdown.

Over the years, Tuck’s dad has evolved his food palate immensely, and we think that is partly due to this Tofu Peanut Noodle recipe. The peanut sauce ingredients-soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili sauce, and rice wine vinegar- are a 101 Intro Class into Asian flavors. Blending them with peanut butter tames their flavors and makes the sauce approachable for everyone. As with all of our recipes, feel free to modify the vegetables that we have added to the noodles so that you can use up what you have in your refrigerator. We love this recipe fresh off the stove and served hot, but we always make extra so that we can have it the next day for a quick lunch on-the-go.
Tofu Peanut Noodles

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients For The Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sriracha or other chili paste (3 if you want to feel the burn)
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • salt, to taste

Ingredients For The Noodles :

  • 1 package tofu
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 (2/3 cup) shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large handful of green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup edamame beans, thawed if frozen
  • 7 oz (1/2 package) rice noodles, sometimes called pad thai noodles or pho noodles
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish (optional)


  1. Make the sauce. Combine all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce (peanut butter – ginger) in a large mixing bowl. If the sauce resembles a thick paste, that is okay. You will dilute the peanut sauce with pasta water after you finish cooking the noodles. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces and put into the large skillet. Let the tofu dehydrate and cook for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to flip the tofu every few minutes. When it starts to stick to the pan, coat the tofu with cooking spray and season with salt and the garlic powder. Remove the tofu from the pan into a second bowl; cover and keep warm.
  3. Cook the rest of the vegetables (carrots – edamame) in the same skillet you cooked the tofu. Coat the pan with the 1 tbs of sesame oil and cook the vegetables until they are tender- 4 or 5 minutes. Season with salt and place the vegetables into the same bowl as the tofu and cover again to keep warm.
  4. Heat a large pot full of water to boil the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions- which should be about 3 minutes. Carefully remove the noodles from the water with tongs straight into the peanut sauce bowl. This will help the peanut sauce dilute to reach your desired consistency. If the water from the noodles is not enough, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to add hot pasta water to the peanut sauce. Continue to use tongs to toss the pasta until the sauce is evenly coated on the noodles. As this point, taste the noodles and season with salt and sriracha as needed.
  5. Gently toss the vegetables and tofu with the peanut noodles. Serve immediately.

Bucatini Carbonara

During a recent trip to Minneapolis, we had dinner at Martina and ate one of the most delicious dishes: Bucatini Carbonara. Bucatini has been a long time favorite pasta and having it Carbonara style was a first for us and a huge treat. For those unfamiliar, bucatini is a long, spaghetti-shaped pasta with a hole in the middle. Picture little spaghetti straws made to soak up all that saucy goodness. After having this dish in Minneapolis we knew we had to spend time trying to recreate it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! While this recipe has a small ingredient list, it is important that you do everything in the correct order and in a timely fashion to get great results. For that reason, the steps might seem out of order compared to a traditional carbonara recipe.

Bucatini Carbonara   
Serving Size: 4 entrees                                                                                                 
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 25 minutes  


  • 1 lb Bucatini Pasta 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan shredded cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired) 
  • 4 oz pancetta, Guanciale, or bacon, diced 
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature 
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature 
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste 
  • parsley, for garnish  


  1. Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium mixing bowl until they are completely blended. Add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and whisk again to combine. It is best if this bowl stays at least room temperature while you cook the remainder of the ingredients. This will help temper the eggs (warm them slowly) so that they do not curdle when you add them to the pasta. To achieve this, we keep the bowl near the stove top to absorb indirect heat. Be sure to keep it close, but not close enough that it will cook the eggs! 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta as directed by the package, cooking the lowest number of minutes suggested. You want the pasta to be al dente as it will continue to cook throughout the rest of the recipe preparation. 
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large pan on medium-high heat.  Add the pancetta to the pan and cook to render off the fat. You want the edges of the pancetta to be crispy but you don’t want it to shrink and be too firm. Remove the pancetta from the pan and turn off the heat from under the pan. 
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1 1/2 cups of pasta water with a liquid measuring cup. Drain the remaining water from the pasta and put the pasta into the pancetta pan. Turn the heat back onto medium. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
  5. Turn the flame off on the pasta pan. Add the egg mixture and quickly mix to absorb the sauce among the pasta evenly. Continue to toss until the sauce appears cooked through- it should be creamy. If it looks too dry, continue to add the pasta water 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. 
  6. Add the pancetta back into the pan, give it a quick toss, and top with parsley and more Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately. 

Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

Here at Tuck & Tate, we love ourselves some mac and cheese. We aren’t here to judge the traditional boxed variety, after all there is no bad mac and cheese, but the homemade stuff is just far and away better than anything you’ll find in the center aisle of the grocery store. With just a little bit of extra effort, you can take an ordinary dish and make it very special. We are putting a spin our favorite dish and making it festive for fall by kicking it up with some hatch chiles.

Living in Colorado, hatch chile season is a big deal from mid August through October. A traditional hatch chile is grown in Hatch, New Mexico, but there are a number of varieties on the market as they have become more popular. They make a great addition to many fall dishes because they range in flavor from almost sweet to very smoky and spicy.

Hatch chiles can be purchased raw or roasted. Purchasing them roasted can save you some time making this dish, particularly if you don’t have a grill available. They can usually be found at a number of farmers markets in the southwest during the fall, but are usually available for a longer part of the year in the freezer section at your local grocery store. If you are using the frozen chiles, bring back to room temperature and make sure the chiles have the skin, seeds, and stem removed just as you do in the recipe below.

Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese

Makes: 8 servings

  • 1 lb fusilli pasta
  • ⅓ lb (2 cups shredded) gouda cheese
  • ¾ lb (4.5 cups shredded) sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs flour
  • 1 quart (4 cups) 2% milk
  • 2 lbs hatch chiles, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions For Chiles:

  • Start by roasting the chiles if you did not buy them pre-roasted. You can roast them on a grill, if available, or over an open flame on your stove top. Turn your grill to medium high heat. Spray the chiles with cooking spray and grill 4-5 minutes on each side until charred black.
  • When cool enough to touch, peel the outside layer of charred skin away, remove the seeds and stem, and dice.
  • This can be done ahead of time, even the night before.

Directions for Mac and Cheese:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Remove skin and seeds from the chiles and dice into bite sized pieces
  • Grate the gouda and the cheddar cheeses. Set aside ½ cup of cheddar cheese.
  • In a large soup pot or stock pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil
  • Cook the pasta until it is al dente (firm). Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside
  • In the same pot, turn the heat to medium/high and melt the butter
  • Once melted, add the flour and whisk until combined. The consistency will be similar to a paste.
  • While whisking, slowly add the milk to the pot one cup at a time. Make sure that the milk is fully absorbed by the rue so that the rue does not become lumpy
  • Let the milk mixture come to simmer and lower to medium heat. Add the gouda and 4 cups of cheddar cheese in three parts – whisking until fully combined as you did with the flour and milk mixture.
  • Once the cheese is fully melted, remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in the chopped chiles and the pasta until the pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce
  • Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into a 9X11 inch baking dish
  • Spread the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes
  • Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly
  • Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving