Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish made with heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, spices and sometimes bacon or pancetta. A hearty noodle such as Penne is most commonly used to hold on to the hearty sauce.
I can’t think of a more comforting, delicious pasta dish than Penne alla vodka. It is a simple dish to prepare making it the perfect weeknight winter meal.
This creamy, blush vodka sauce is a magical meeting of crushed tomatoes, the decadent flavor of heavy cream and vodka.
Due to restaurants being closed in many states, this delicious dish can be made at home, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR VODKA SAUCE:
San Marzano tomatoes & tomato paste – do they HAVE to be San Marzano? No. But San Marzano tomatoes are very popular in Italian sauces as they have less acid and are less bitter than other canned tomatoes.
Olive Oil – Do NOT use canola or vegetable oils. Please use a high quality oil.
Aromatics – the usual onion and garlic plus a pinch of red pepper flakes and oregano.
Vodka – Any kind will do
Heavy cream – no substitutions!
Bacon (or pancetta) – not here
WILL I TASTE THE VODKA?
No. The vodka is one of the first liquids added to the pan and is reduced down by almost half before the tomatoes and cream are added. The purpose of the vodka is to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes as well as balancing out the sweetness.
Also, vodka is a relatively flavorless alcohol. It will not impart any residual alcohol flavor in the sauce.
Penne pasta topped with a creamy blush vodka sauce – comfort food all day long!
- 1 Small Onion, chopped finely
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1– 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
- 1 Cup Vodka
- ¾ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- ½ Box Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil to a large saute pan until warm. Add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
- Mix in the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more until the tomato paste deepens in color.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the vodka and simmer until it reduces by half.
- Stir in the tomatoes, salt and a pinch of fresh black pepper. Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes partially covered.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce if desired.
- Stir in the heavy cream and taste for seasoning. Add salt/pepper/oregano if needed.
- Serve over cooked Penne pasta noodles with chopped fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.