My first expertise with Penne alla Vodka was cooking a “gourmand” meal for a bunch of faculty pals in our dorm’s basement kitchen. Penne noodles tossed in a crushed tomato cream sauce, it’s simple to make at residence and positively decadent.
Trying again at that culinary expertise, I’m unsure which impresses me extra: our resourcefulness (that dorm kitchen was geared up with little past a rusty pot and some forks “donated” from the eating corridor) or our audacity—we made vodka sauce on a campus that doesn’t enable vodka.
After one chew, we felt validated.
The pasta tasted creamy, superb, and completely well worth the threat!
Once I consider meals which are “value it” penne alla vodka is the epitome.
If you happen to aren’t acquainted with penne alla vodka or are questioning the best way to make a vodka sauce, it’s a luxurious mixture of crushed tomatoes and cream which you can prepare dinner rapidly in your stovetop.
Tomatoes and cream hardly ever seem collectively in the identical pasta sauce, for good cause: the acid in tomatoes could make cream curdle.
In penne vodka, nonetheless, they meld collectively to create one thing really fabulous.
What Does the Vodka Do in Penne alla Vodka?
Opposite to what the title suggests, penne alla vodka does not style like vodka.
As an alternative, the vodka acts as a taste balancer. The alcohol burns off throughout cooking.
In vodka sauce, the vodka does three essential jobs.
- It retains the cream from separating.
- It releases extra taste from the tomatoes.
- Because the vodka cooks down, it additionally provides a light-weight chew to the sauce, balancing the pure sweetness of the tomatoes and cream.
That is culinary science at its most luxurious!
The excessive depend of basic penne alla vodka energy usually places it on the “particular indulgence” listing.
Whereas that may be true of conventional recipes that use massive quantities of heavy cream, at this time’s vodka sauce recipe makes use of a sneaky swap to show it right into a considerably extra wholesome pasta which you can get pleasure from frequently.
As an alternative of cream, I take advantage of a decreased quantity of half-and-half.
- Half-and-half is half milk/half cream (therefore the title).
- With this swap, there may be nonetheless sufficient cream to maintain the sauce from breaking and make it style wealthy.
Right here’s my promise: you gained’t really feel like you’re sacrificing within the least!
Like the opposite wholesome twists on Italian favorites you’ll discover right here (Crock Pot Hen Marsala, Garlic Shrimp Pasta, and Sluggish Cooker Hen Cacciatore being however three of many wholesome pasta recipes), this lightened-up penne alla vodka tastes like every part you’re hoping for once you resolve to make it within the first place: wealthy, stuffed with taste, and completely delicious.
How To Make Penne Alla Vodka
Don’t be fooled by this recipe’s simplicity.
Penne alla vodka is straightforward to make and the outcomes are nothing wanting spectacular!
- Penne. I used complete wheat penne, however any comparable complete wheat pasta noodle will work effectively with this vodka sauce.
- Vodka. There’s a cause it’s within the recipe’s title. When you can’t style the vodka particularly, it performs a vital function within the sauce coming collectively cohesively and offers the pasta its signature style. I promise it’s value it!
If you happen to want an alternative to vodka in penne alla vodka, you might strive omitting it or utilizing water or broth with a squeeze of lemon juice as a substitute. I’ve not tried this swap earlier than, so it will be an experiment. If you happen to resolve to mess around and make the penne with out vodka sauce, I’d love to listen to the way it goes!
- Crushed Tomatoes. The tomatoes mix seamlessly with the half-and-half for a richly flavored sauce.
- Half-and-Half. As an alternative of creating penne sauce with cream, I opted for half-and-half. This slims the recipe down, whereas holding it satisfying.
- Parmesan. Whereas non-obligatory, I like including tacky taste to my penne vodka.
- Recent Herbs. A bathe of basil or parsley provides a pleasant contact of freshness and coloration.
- Cook dinner the onion, salt, and pepper in oil. Add the garlic.
- Pour within the vodka, scraping alongside the underside of the pan to deglaze. Let prepare dinner till decreased by half.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, and crimson pepper flakes. Let simmer till thickened. Stir within the half-and-half.
- Cook dinner the pasta, reserve among the cooking liquid, then add to the sauce.
- Toss to coat, including pasta water as wanted. Stir within the Parmesan. ENJOY!
Pair this penne alla vodka with Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Chianti.
- Penne alla Vodka with Hen. Previous to sautéing the onion, sauté 1 pound of boneless, skinless hen breasts or thighs till cooked via; take away to a plate, then add with the pasta on the finish.
- Penne alla Vodka with Greens. Stir steamed broccoli or Roasted Broccoli into the pasta on the finish. Or, stir in a number of handfuls of chopped spinach leaves simply earlier than serving, permitting the warmth of the pasta to wilt the leaves.
- Penne alla Vodka with Shrimp. Previous to sautéing the onion, sauté 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp; take away to a plate, then add with the pasta on the finish.
- Penne alla Vodka with Pancetta, Prosciutto, or Bacon. Take penne alla vodka to the following stage. Sauté 4 ounces of diced pancetta, prosciutto, or bacon with the garlic and onion.
- Penne alla Vodka with Sausage. Previous to sautéing the onion, brown 1 pound of crumbled or chopped Italian sausage (faraway from its casing). To maintain the recipe on the wholesome aspect, use hen or turkey sausage. Add to the pasta on the finish.
- Spicy Penne alla Vodka. Add a pinch (or a number of!) of crushed crimson pepper flakes to style.
This simple pasta makes an enormous batch and reheats effectively, so it’s a terrific recipe to prepare dinner initially of the week, then preserve readily available for quick, wholesome meals all week lengthy.
- To Retailer. Refrigerate leftover penne vodka in an hermetic storage container for as much as 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low warmth, splashing in broth, milk, or water as wanted to loosen the sauce. You can too reheat this recipe within the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze penne alla vodka in an hermetic, freezer-safe storage container for as much as 3 months. Let thaw in a single day within the fridge earlier than reheating.
What to Serve with Penne Alla Vodka
Really useful Instruments to Make this Recipe
Excessive-High quality Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is without doubt one of the most versatile, helpful, and long-lasting instruments you’ll be able to have in your kitchen. This one is gorgeous and heavy-duty!
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Often Requested Questions
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 massive yellow onion diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed crimson pepper flakes
- 1 pound complete wheat penne or comparable complete wheat pasta
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- Thinly sliced contemporary basil or chopped contemporary parsley
Deliver a big pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. Measure the vodka and preserve it close to the range.
In a big, deep skillet or Dutch oven, warmth the oil over medium warmth. As soon as it’s scorching and shimmering, add the onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook dinner till the onion begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and prepare dinner simply till aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Rigorously add the vodka (be particularly cautious in case your range has an open flame). Scrape with a picket spoon or spatula to deglaze the pan, then let the vodka prepare dinner till decreased by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and crimson pepper flakes. Deliver this sauce to a gradual simmer, then scale back the warmth to a low simmer. Alter the warmth as wanted in order that the sauce simmers gently so it continues to scale back however doesn’t bubble aggressively. Let simmer till thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir within the half-and-half and let simmer 5 minutes extra.
Whereas the sauce simmers, prepare dinner the pasta within the boiling water to al dente, in response to bundle directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and instantly add it to the sauce.
Toss to coat the pasta, including a little bit of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce as wanted. Stir within the Parmesan. Serve scorching, sprinkled with basil or parsley.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover penne vodka in an hermetic storage container for as much as 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low warmth, splashing in broth, milk, or water as wanted to loosen the sauce. You can too reheat this recipe within the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze penne alla vodka in an hermetic, freezer-safe storage container for as much as 3 months. Let thaw in a single day within the fridge earlier than reheating.
Serving: 1(of 6)Energy: 464kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 14gFats: 10gSaturated Fats: 4gPolyunsaturated Fats: 1gMonounsaturated Fats: 3gLdl cholesterol: 17mgPotassium: 483mgFiber: 8gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 488IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 148mgIron: 2mg
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