Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Penne alla Vodka

Each day, when I look at the Blog Update thread on the What's Cooking board, I basically drool over each picture and recipe, bookmarking many to be tried in my kitchen.  When this one popped up from Laura, I knew it was one that would have to be tried in our home.  While my husband and I have varying opinions on what goes on top of our pasta (he's a tomato sauce guy and I'd rather have a little oil, garlic and dash of salt), we both agree that vodka sauce is delicious.  I had made some homemade pasta (light wheat pasta, using my KitchenAid pasta press - a wedding gift my husband didn't think I'd ever use, but I've definitely proved him wrong!), and I had leftovers which I had frozen a few nights earlier.  So this seemed like the right time to try this recipe out.

The recipe was pretty simple to make, though I was a little pressed for time due to a little mix up with another recipe I was trying out just before, so I started making this sauce forgetting to prep everything (rookie mistake, I know!) so as I realized I needed to cut up some garlic, the onions ended up getting a tiny bit burned.  But, in the end, I don't think it mattered much.  The end result was delicious and I would definitely make this again.  It doesn't take too long, even with a little prep time (which I'll remember to use wisely next time!), so it's something that I can whip up after work and still eat at a relatively normal hour.  And honestly, aside from the 1/2 cup of heavy cream, the sauce doesn't really have anything unhealthy in it!

Penne alla Vodka (from Tide and Thyme)

1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 small onion minced (about 1/4 c)
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 C vodka
1/2 C heavy cream
1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh basil
Grated Parmesan for serving


- Puree half of the tomatoes in food processor until smooth. 

- Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces, discarding cores.
- Combine pureed tomatoes and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup add reserved liquid to equal 2 cups.
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
- Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around the edges, about three minutes.
- Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Remove pan from heat and add vodka.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too vigorous.
- Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
- Add pasta sauce to penne pasta that has been cooked to al dente.
- Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, top with parmesan.


  1. One of my very favorites! The WC boards have always been a great inspiration for me as well. Looks great!

    1. Thanks! Your post just looked so delicious I had to try it myself!