updated Oct, 27, 2019
This is a recipe and technique for Penne with Vodka Sauce. It combines tomatoes, vodka, olive oil, cream and spices to create a delicious dish. The alcohol in vodka creates a reaction with the tomato acids to make a smooth tasting sauce.
Making Vodka Sauce
I did a little research to see where this tomato and vodka combination came from. One of the more popular notions is that the vodka producers wanted the Italians to use more vodka rather than wine as a cooking additive. This became Penne alla Vodka. Whatever the reason, I know that it is a very nice alternative to your normal Italian marinara.
I had never made this before and had always had vodka sauce from a jar. There is no comparison. The freshly made stuff is really good. This recipe requires baking, so it takes some time to prepare, but definitely worth it. Use an oven safe skillet and remember that the handle is hot and stays hot. Even if you run cold water on it for a while. These lessons are learned the hard way!
This vodka sauce gets assembled on the stove top, and gets all the flavors concentrated in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. This baking time just makes the olive oil and tomato base scream with flavor.
Once baked, carefully use a blender to puree, which is best done in batches. Add the sauce back to the pan and heat up again. Add in the cream and Parmesan cheese and this is just a silky, delicious sauce.
The precooked penne pasta is stirred in and it is ready to serve. Some good bread and grated parm on the side is perfect. And how about an Italian Chianti?
Make penne with vodka sauce when you have some company. I’m sure they’ll love it.
And try these other pasta dishes:
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 garlic cloves , coarsely chopped
- 1/2 sweet onion , chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 2 28- oz . cans peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes , crushed by hand to break up
- 2 tsp fresh oregano , finely chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup, and more for garnish)
- 1 tsp each salt and black pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta , cooked al dente according to package instructions
- Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large oven proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium and add onions and garlic.
- Cook slowly 4 or 5 minutes.
- Add dried oregano. crushed red pepper, tomatoes and vodka. (Take care to add vodka without causing a flame).
- Bring to simmer, 5 minutes
- Cover tightly and place in 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven, add fresh oregano, salt and pepper.
- Puree in a blender in batches.
- Place on stove on medium heat, stir in cream and grated Parmesan.
- Add pasta, stir to coat.
- Serve hot and garnish with grated Parmesan