Recipe Swap: Penne with Vodka Sauce

This Recipe Swap almost didn’t happen because there weren’t enough participants, which surprised me since I figured most people cook with alcohol (the theme of the swap) on a more regular basis than I do. Apparently this was not the case. I had a really hard time finding a recipe that I could even submit!

However, the one I got in return is absolutely perfect. When I received the email and saw the assigned recipe I maybe kinda made a squee’ing noise. I’ve wanted to try a pasta with a vodka sauce for I don’t know how long now. However, every time I wanted it, we didn’t have any vodka in the house and since we very rarely drink it, I decided it was easier to just make it some other time, rather than schlep to the liquor store for only a tiny, tiny amount.

The last time I was at the liquor store, stocking up on an unhealthy amount of wine, I noticed there were quite a few different flavored tiny bottles of vodka near the register. I grabbed a few different ones, figuring I’d eventually find a recipe that called for them. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized one of them was just plain vodka. Which works perfectly for this recipe.

Penne with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage
Source: So Tasty, So Yummy
Servings: 6
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    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 4 links Italian sausage
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 lb. penne pasta
    • 2 tbsp. vodka
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Slice the sausage into 1 1/2″ slices and add to the skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring until the garlic has browned.
3. Add crushed tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain.
5. Add the vodka and heavy cream to the skillet and bring to a boil again.
6. Stir in the pasta and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 minute.
7. Stir in the basil, then serve.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting this to taste like, but it definitely surpassed it by about a hundred times. The cream sauce was incredible and nicely lightened up when you got a piece of the basil mixed in. I was concerned this would still have a liquor flavor and Tom wouldn’t like it, but he didn’t and he actually said twice that he really enjoyed it. This is getting added to the “make again” list. 

No Comments

  1. I am constantly amazed the power of vodka in a tomato cream sauce. Whenever I leave it out, it is never as good. Glad you enjoyed!

  2. I have also been wanting to try a vodka sauce…this looks delicious! I will have to try it.

  3. I have made this recipe before and I was shocked at how good the vodka makes the tomato cream sauce. It is amazing!

  4. Vodka makes such a huge difference in this dish! Looks lovely!

  5. This looks delicious!
    Do you think subbing half and half would work okay?

  6. Rarely drink vodka?!?! How can this be? 😉 This sounds like a great recipe!

  7. I'd think so. I actually poured maybe 2-3 tbsp. of half and half into the measuring cup before I realized I had grabbed the wrong carton.

  8. Way too many screwdrivers one evening have made me extremely wary of vodka. It only took 6 years to be able to look at orange juice again without cringing.

  9. I love vodka sauce, but I've never made it at home! Looks very easy!

  10. Homemade vodka sauce is very tasty.

  11. I love penne alla vodka! You've made me VERY hungry!

  12. I so love vodka sauce and my husband would love the addition of sausage…it looks great1

  13. The vodka experiences the jewel refining process, making it the best in quality. winecoon

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