Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Cannot Survive On Sweets Alone

We interrupt this sweet fest to bring you a savory, very tasty meal! No, there's not any a stick of butter and a cup of sugar in this recipe, but it is darn delicious so don't go yet! I've wanted to make Penne with Vodka sauce for years now. I once saw Rachael Ray make it on her show and she said this meal would turn your boyfriend into your husband. Well, I don't know about all that, but this recipe is a keeper and the men in your life will love it. I didn't plan it this way, but it might be a good dish to celebrate Father's Day too. 

Uncle Aaron and Hayden acting silly after nap time
Y'all, I've been crazy busy lately. I know I say that a lot, but this little guy is wearing me out! He's such a little busy body and is into EVERYTHING these days. He grabs and must touch all things around him. He's crawling and rolling all over the place and exploring. He pulled the DVD player out of the entertainment center the other night and as of the 1st, when he turned 9 months old (how is that possible?!) he cut his first tooth and discovered his boy parts. heehee :-) See, I told you he's been busy! He's also been experiencing some separation anxiety and had been ultra clingy which makes night time tough because he's waking up several times a night looking for me, which results in a sleepy baby throughout the day....and a sleepy momma.

I have been cooking and baking, but haven't really been picking up my camera other than to take pictures of Hayden. I've made this vodka penne a few times now and it goes so fast there's never any leftovers. As you've guessed it, there is vodka in the sauce. I bought a small inexpensive bottle since it's not something I drink, but it's been the perfect size for this recipe. This recipe takes a basic marinara sauce and kicks it up with the addition of the vodka, which adds a smoky robust flavor to it. It's just so full of flavor but you don't really taste the strong aspect of the alcohol- it just blends so nicely. It's slightly spicy and garlicky and just so good. Have I mentioned that already?

Vodka Penne / Penne alla Vodka
adapted from Lidia Bastianich via Picky Cook 

Printer Friendly Version 
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 - 8 garlic cloves - minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vodka plus 2 tablespoons to put in at the end
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning  ( I used Emeril's Essence)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound penne - cooked just shy of al dente
In a large pan, heat the olive oil and saute garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, all purpose seasoning, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5 - 6 minutes.

Add the 1/2 cup of vodka and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cream, butter and Parmesan and stir to combine. Let simmer for a couple minutes. Add the final 2 tablespoons of vodka.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Let cook in sauce for few minutes.

Serve with additional Parmesan.

Serves 6 - 8

The first time I made this recipe, I made it as written, and then the times after that I added cooked and crumbled Italian sausage to it. My husband is a big meat eater so he, of course, loved this addition. However you make it, it will be good. Serve it with a big crisp green salad, some crusty bread and pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!


Coleens Recipes said...

OMGoodness, comfort food perfection!! I can't belive Hayden is 9 months old already!!

From the Kitchen said...

You know I'm more focused on "is there a photo of Hayden" than the recipe. After I saw his adorable little self, I did go back and read the recipe. I do a similar one without the tomatoes but your's sounds delicious and I'm copying it.

I told you that time flies with babies! It really seems so recent that you announced Hayden was on the way and now he's (almost) on foot. I know you are enjoying every minute.


Leslie Harris said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe that Hayden is already 9 months old. He is such a cutie!

This sauce sounds amazing. I don't drink a lot of alcohol, but you wouldn't know that from looking at my liquor cabinet. Aside from my bottle of tequila, which I reserve for special occasions, everything else is just for cooking with. :)

Unknown said...

This looks fantastic! I've wanted to try this dish for a while now but The Hubble can't stand vodka so it usually falls off my radar. Maybe I should give it a try while he's gone. ;-)

Plain Chicken said...

This looks incredible. I can't wait to give it a try!!

Abby said...

I'm sure, like me, you have a love-hate relationship with the clinginess! I love the cuddles. But I love to sleep. Ah, motherhood. I also love penne alla vodka! And I'm a big fan of Lidia. Everything she makes looks amazing!

Unknown said...

I wish it was possible to live on sweets alone. If it were, I would be one really happy girl. But this pasta dish looks really delicious. I don't remember the last time I had pasta, but this really put me in the mood for it :)

Memória said...

YEAAA! You used De Cecco (and didn't give any credit to me just like the profile photo hahaha J/K). LOVE YOU!

Hayden looks so freaking cute with his tongue sticking out. LOL about Hayden discovering his squiggly bits haha.

Your brother is growing up. Wow! He's look a bit older and more
mature hehe.

I miss you, dude! especially Haydencito

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Pasta is my ultimate comfort food - love, love, love it! Your little guy is such a cutie pie!

Paloma said...

I've missed your recipes, beautiful pictures and Hayden! ;) I love how this pasta sounds... now... I'll have to get some vodka ;)

Julie said...

I made Rachael's version a few weeks ago and wasn't blown away, but this looks awesome! I'll have to give it another try :)

Anonymous said...

Hayden looks so cute, growing up like a weed as the saying goes..This recipe sounds absolutely delish, will make it easily now liquor is sold in grocery stores, oh, my over 75 years this state had a liquor control run stores, boom the voters approved and june 1st they started selling alcohol and the grocery stores, etc. target etc. people went nuts,until they had to pay for it their is an extra liquor tax on top of a tax and a state sales tax, people not so happy about that.oh, well I do have some vodka and will make it and put some chicken sausage on top to boot..have a wonderful time with your sweet baby, love your blog, always good recipes to enjoy..

Gemma said...

This is going in my recipe book right now - vodka and pasta are my favourite two guilty pleasures!


Heather at Kitchen Concoctions said...

Haha! Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce, was one of the very first meals I made for Eric! He's stuck around for almost 7 years so maybe there is some truth in that statement! The version I've made though, has more cream and I add pan seared or grilled chicken. But the sausage sounds like a wonderful change of flavor.

Anonymous said...

I make a similar version that has pancetta in it, and it really knocks it out of the park! It is expensive, but adds so much flavor, you only need to use 1/4 lb.

When I am feeling extravagant (and there is a sale) I sauté shrimp in olive oil and garlic and toss that in. Oh my!

Hayden is too adorable for words!

Maria_NJ said...

ummmm looks wonderful...

I too can't believe that he is 9 months already...and I don't mean to be like the busy-body blogger but at 9 months he should be sleeping through the night. I know this is going to be tough on you but you must let him get himself back to sleep on his own. When he cries go in and reassure him that you are there (from his doorway) do not pick him up. Tell him that you are there and that mama is right here in the next room and tell him to lay down and go to sleep...and then let him cry...I know it sounds mean but it is the only way...after a couple of night he will get it. Or that might not be the kind of method you want to use, but you will get him to sleep and you will get to sleep too...

I hope I didn't offend at all, I am only going by experience. my first one I rocked to sleep until he was 10 months old, and I said this is nuts...I did the cuy it out and he slept through the night the 2nd night...the other two, I learned...LOL

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe today with my fiance and it was amazing. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Probably the sauce ive had!

Unknown said...

Tried so many penne alla vodka recipes this has to be the best!!!! So flavorful. The only complaint I got was it wasn't thick enough but alas when it sat for a minute or two before serving it thickened up. Great taste easy to follow

Unknown said...

Need to try.

EA said...

Thanks for the great recipe. I made it for the first time tonight and my family loved it! I loved that it was so easy to make but tasted like I spent all day on it. This will definitely be a meal I make again. Oh and I added Basil Italian sausage to mine since my family is big meat eaters.

stacy said...

I made this tonight. I halved the recipe, except for the cheese. :) I also added chicken that pan fried in olive oil with italian seasoning on it.

It was great! Thanks

stacy said...

Just want to let you know that I've been making this about every other week since I found it a few months ago. It is a family favorite. Thanks so much for sharing.

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