Vodka sauce is one of my favorites and one that I don’t make often enough. This time I made it and threw in some gulf shrimp to make shrimp penne alla vodka sauce. The vodka sauce is silky smooth and the shrimp in the vodka sauce is a perfect combination.
Shrimp Penne alla Vodka Sauce
Quite a while ago I did a post on Penne with Vodka Sauce. It’s a tasty but time-consuming recipe involving oven baking the sauce for quite a while. This shrimp in vodka sauce is similar but with no oven time. Just reduce the sauce for a while on the stovetop. Much easier.
Vodka seems like an odd partner to tomato sauce, but the alcohol in the vodka becomes an emulsifier. It holds the acids and the oils together and the result is a creamy smooth taste.
The shrimp in this recipe pairs well with the richness of the sauce. And the shrimp is so easy to cook right in the sauce. You should use pretty big shrimp…20 to 30 shrimp per pound size. The sweetness of the shrimp combined with the smooth-tasting sauce is what makes this a super dinner.
If you really like shrimp, you should try the terrific recipe I developed for Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp. Just like the original tasty appetizer from Bonefish.
At the same time that I was making our dinner, MaryJo @MJBakesaLot.com, was baking bread to have with our meal. MaryJo sliced and buttered some of her bread, and I toasted it on the stovetop in a cast iron griddle. The combination of the shrimp, pasta, and bread was amazing.
This recipe makes around a quart of shrimp penne alla vodka sauce which is enough for 4 or 5 people. Since the sauce is so good, I’m saying 4.
In less than an hour you and your family could be enjoying this great dinner.
Here are some more tasty pasta dishes to try:
- Shrimp Mac and Cheese
- Tomato Spinach Pasta with Spicy Shrimp
- Midnight Spaghetti
- Pasta with Roma Tomatoes and Shrimp Sauce
- Perfect Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Penne alla Vodka Sauce
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole tomatoes crushed by hand or coarse chopped with scissors or a knife
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan plus more for garnish
- 1 lbs. shrimp , 21 to 30 size, peeled, deveined, tail off
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz . penne pasta , cooked al dente according to package directions
- Boil the pasta until al dente according to package instructions, drain and keep warm.
- In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add oil, onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and vodka being careful not to flame the vodka.
- Stir and simmer about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced about 25%.
- Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the sauce, (you can also use a blender or a food processor).
- Put the pot back on medium heat and stir in the cream and parmesan cheese.
- Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as you see fit.
- While still on the heat, add the shrimp and let them cook for 2 or 3 minutes until nearly opaque.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and let the shrimp finish for another minute, then add the cooked pasta.
- Stir together and serve hot with extra parmesan cheese.
- You can substitute cooked lobster or even cooked chicken instead of using shrimp.
- San Marzano tomatoes have the right amount of acid and are the best choice for this dish. They are usually whole tomatoes and should be coarsely broken up to use.
This recipe post has been updated on December 18, 2021.