Ingredients with Measurements:
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped, for garnish
Special equipment needed:
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Large skillet or saucepan
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another minute.
4. Pour in the vodka and let it simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced by half.
5. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
6. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Add the cooked penne pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
8. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves for garnish.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Substitutions for ingredients:
- You can use any type of pasta you prefer instead of penne.
- If you don't have vodka, you can substitute with white wine or chicken broth.
- You can use half and half or milk instead of heavy cream for a lighter version.
- Add cooked shrimp or chicken to the pasta for a protein boost.
- Use diced tomatoes instead of crushed for a chunkier sauce.
- Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes for a tangy twist.
Tips and tricks:
- Be sure to cook the pasta al dente so it doesn't become mushy when mixed with the sauce.
- Use a high-quality vodka for the best flavor.
- Don't skip the red pepper flakes, they add a nice kick to the dish.
- Reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce if it becomes too thick.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of milk or cream to prevent the pasta from drying out.
Serve the pasta in a large bowl or on individual plates. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves.
Serve with a side salad and crusty bread for a complete meal.
Suggested side dishes:
- Caesar salad
- Garlic bread
- Roasted vegetables
- If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of pasta water or milk to thin it out.
- If the sauce is too thin, let it simmer for a few more minutes to thicken.
Food safety advice:
Be sure to cook the pasta and sauce to the recommended temperatures to prevent foodborne illness.
Penne alla vodka is a popular Italian-American dish that originated in the 1980s.
Creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy.
Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves.
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