Why Make Penne Alla Vodka With Jarred Sauce
You are less than thirty minutes away from dinner!
One of my favorite quick meals is cooking up some pasta and finishing it in some great sauce, homemade or store-bought.
There are so many brands that make great ones these days, and it only takes a couple of extra ingredients to really make it sing.
If you start heating your water when you start making your sauce, your pasta will be cooked and ready to add to your so you can have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes, 30 minutes if youre not working super-efficiently.
And while I dont always have cream on hand to make vodka sauce, I almost always have The Secret Ingredient.
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“Pasta is always the same, yet always different,” James Beard once famously said. “It has a comforting familiarity with its pale golden color and chewy, wheaten taste.” And while comforting familiarity is something to be cherished, boredom at dinnertime is not.
Lets face it, weve all stared at a box of pasta and thought, How can I get creative with this?
On a busy night, a fresh batch of pasta tossed with our favorite jar of sauce seems like the best option, especially when time is of the essence and the cupboard is bare. But a little creativity, and just a few more ingredients, can elevate pasta to new heights.
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Tips For Penne Alla Vodka
- Make sure you let the sauce simmer for long enough so that the alcohol will cook off. If you dont cook the sauce for long enough, you may end up with a harsh aftertaste from the alcohol.
- You can make this sauce a day before you plan to use it. Simply reheat it on the stove while your pasta cooks, then toss everything together and serve.
- I use canned San Marzano tomatoes in this recipe. Theyre a type of Italian plum tomato and they have the best flavor of any type of canned tomato. If you cant find a can of San Marzano tomatoes, use Italian style whole canned tomatoes instead. Its definitely worth the extra money for the San Marzano variety.
- Do not use the green can of parmesan cheese for this dish. Look for a high quality grated or shaved parmesan, or buy a block of it and grate it yourself.
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How To Make Penne With Vodka Sauce
More Great Pasta Recipes
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
- Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the tomato puree into the pan.
- Add the vodka to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes over medium low heat.
- Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese and simmer for another 5 minutes or until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes , then serve.
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Is There Vodka In The Sauce
Yes. Adding vodka releases and boosts flavors in the tomatoes adding a new complexity and balance to the sauce that you wouldnt otherwise be able to achieve. . For those reasons, its a popular technique in Italian cooking, but the key is to simmer the sauce for a long period of time allowing most of the alcohol to evaporate.
What Is Penne Alla Vodka
Penne Alla Vodka is a popular dish made with penne pasta and a creamy tomato sauce that has a splash of vodka. It is served hot and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. The origins of this iconic pasta dish are kind of mysterious.
Some food historians claim it was invented in Bologna, Italy, while others say it originated with Italian-Americans in the 1980s. Wherever it originated, one thing is for sure: This is one satisfying way to enjoy pasta!
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Sharing Our Familys Favorite Penne Vodka Sauce Recipe This Is Our Go
When I used to go out for dinner with my family at any Italian restaurant I always ordered the penne vodka growing up. Literally every time. The only time I would gravitate towards something else was for pizza. But when it comes to penne vodka that was my ride or die. But no peas please . I just cant get down with peas in my vodka sauce.
But today we are making the most epic penne vodka sauce together. It is so easy and creamy and flavorful. And my stomach is growling just typing this blog post right now. It is hands down going to be your favorite vodka sauce recipe you will come back to over and over again. Not to mention it also makes killer leftovers the next day for lunch.
I cannot wait to hear what you guys think. Let me know if you make it!
Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: Make the vodka sauce, but dont add the pasta. Store the sauce and cooked pasta separately in the fridge. Add the sauce to a saucepan to rewarm and then stir in the pasta.
To Freeze: Make the sauce through step 4, before adding the cream or pasta. Allow the sauce to cool and then freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or over low heat in a saucepan. Once warm in saucepan, add cream, cooked pasta, and cheese.
You could freeze the fully assembled dish as well, just know that upon reheating the sauce may have a slightly different texture due to the cream, and it wont be quite as saucy because of the noodles soaking up some of the sauce.
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How To Make Vegan Penne Alla Vodka
This Vegan Penne alla Vodka is the perfect date night dish to impress, made in just a few easy steps! Simply simmer and blend everything for your vegan vodka sauce, then cook your pasta, and combine everything to make the most delicious creamy vegan pasta dish, possibly ever.
This bright & boozy pasta is also completely customizable to your liking keep it traditional and serve with penne, or switch things up and use a different pasta shape! Rigatoni or even rotini would be great with this. You can also add in a few of your favorite veggies like zucchini or mushrooms. I like to top mine with vegan parmesan cheese and fresh oregano. You could also opt for fresh basil or fresh parsley, depending on what you prefer! Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Its best to keep sauce and pasta separate to keep the pasta from getting soggy you can also opt to cook your pasta only just before serving.
Easy Vodka Sauce Recipe
Pasta and tomato sauce is a classic, but if youre looking to take your weeknight meals up a notch, make this Penne Alla Vodka Sauce Recipe instead. Made with fresh tomatoes, Italian herbs, a splash of vodka, and heavy cream, its a creamy and flavorful meal thats sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Tomatoes are an essential piece of many Italian recipes, like Tomato Burrata Salad and Herb Ricotta Tarts. I knew using fresh tomatoes in this homemade vodka sauce was the right choice because homegrown, vibrant tomatoes are packed with amazing flavors on their own! They can only get better when mixed with the right ingredients.
Penne alla vodka is a simple recipe you can whip up in no time. Try it for date night at home or a delicious family dinner. The best part is you can make the vodka sauce ahead of time, freeze it, and reheat it when you need a tasty dinner in a pinch!
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Tips For The Best Vodka Sauce
- Use good quality ingredients. It will only taste as good as what you put into it.
- Be sure to let it simmer long enough to cook off most of the alcohol or youll taste alcohol and it will really overpower the dish.
- Crush tomatoes fine for a smoother, less chunky sauce. If preferred you could even blitz them in a food processor.
- Dont use dried herbs or bottled garlic. These fresh ingredients really help make this vodka sauce perfect.
Assemble The Most Amazing Homemade Penne Vodka
This is the easiest part. Return your drained pasta back to the empty pot you used to boil the water. Then, pour in the vodka sauce. This recipe makes a LOT of vodka sauce. Dont be shy when youre pouring it on!
Toss the penne with the vodka sauce to evenly coat all your noodles. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce, infusing that delicious flavor all through your pasta dinner.
Easy Penne Alla Vodka Recipe
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Whats better than making penne alla vodka at home? Making it with jarred pasta sauce for a shortcut easy vodka sauce that is every bit as rich and silky as the kind you can get in a restaurant.I have an easy trick to achieve that silky creaminess without using heavy cream. But make no mistake, this is not a low-calorie treat. This is pure comfort courtesy of a shortcut that will have you enjoying this restaurant staple often as possible!For a restaurant-style vodka sauce that doesnt take shortcuts, try my classic vodka sauce recipe.For ease of browsing, you can find all my pasta recipes in one place. Thanks so much for visiting!
I originally developed this recipe for Barilla in 2016. Thanks, Barilla, for partnering with me!
Ingredients Needed For Penne With Vodka Sauce
- Canned San Marzano tomatoes these are an Italian grown variety of tomato that have less acidity and better sweetness, I dont recommend substitutions unless you dont have access to them. Then go with canned plum/Roma tomatoes and add a pinch or two of sugar.
- Extra virgin olive oil dont use standard refined olive oil here. We want that stronger extra virgin flavor in this dish. It really compliments the tomato flavor.
- Yellow onion mince these up fine so theyll become tender with a brief saute and simmer period.
- Prosciutto or pancetta this cured Italian ham is optional but it does add a delicious flavor.
- Garlic only use freshly minced for best flavor.
- Salt and pepper add to taste but remember the sauce will reduce some so dont overdue it.
- Vodka a must in this recipe. With leftover vodka I like to make homemade vanilla.
- Red pepper flakes if you dont like spicy food you can omit this. If you love spicy double or even triple the amount.
- Heavy cream I dont recommend lower fat substitutions here.
- Fresh basil and fresh oregano if you dont want to purchase both you can use one or the other but I love the blend here. If you have leftover use it to make pizza sauce or marinara.
- Shredded parmesan cheese want to add extra flavor to the sauce? Simmer a parmesan rind with the sauce.
- Penne pasta cook to al dente and be sure to reserve some of the starchy pasta water before draining, which is used to loosen the sauce as needed.
How To Make Quick Vodka Sauce Without Vodka
While living in California, where I grew my own tomatoes, I used to make this sauce with my own basic tomato sauce. Now that I live in Miami, I use canned organic tomato sauce and the result is simply perfect.
To make this sauce, sauté two or three garlic cloves in a deep saucier with olive oil and pepperoncino. Once the garlic is golden brown, add the tomato sauce and let it boil. When the sauce is boiling, add the wine and simmer it for 20 minutes, uncovered.
To avoid any tomato splatter, use a splatter guard. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and add the heavy cream and stir until well combined, and reserve it. Youre supposed to discard the garlic cloves, but if you take them out of the sauce and spread them on a piece of rustic bread, youll be forever grateful.
In the meantime, cook the penne noodles al dente and once they are done, strain them and add them to the sauce. Stir and grate abundant Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately with more Parmesan cheese, pepperoncini, and fresh parsley.
What To Serve With Penne Alla Vodka
- Caesar salad or other side salad
- Homemade garlic bread
- a glass of red wine
What does the vodka do in Penne alla Vodka?
Vodka is a key ingredient in this recipe, it acts as an emulsifier for the water and oil in the sauce. It allows the sauce to combine well and not separate. What it does helps with the sweetness of the tomatoes, is also gives the sauce the creamy consistency you are going to love.Since vodka is essentially flavorless, its main purpose is the composition of the dish, rather than adding flavor.
Can you get drunk from Penne alla Vodka?
No, you cannot! There is not much vodka in this dish to impair you. Plus, during the cooking process of the sauce, the alcohol will evaporate out of the dish when it is heated up.So making this recipe wont get you tipsy but the vodka will add great flavor. Please read about alcohol evaporation in cooking and baking if you have concerns.
Do you need vodka for Penne alla Vodka?
If you would rather avoid using vodka you can substitute it out for something else. But, you need to add another liquid. Do not just omit the vodka from the sauce.
What can I substitute for vodka in Penne alla Vodka?
I would suggest using either water, apple cider, or white grape juice with a hint of lime juice mixed into the juice to add a little extra flavor
History Of Vodka Sauce
You might think vodka sauce was created when an Italian and a Russian met up for dinner. It is not one of those traditional recipes, according to Williams-Sonoma, this recipe has its origins in the 1980s. It is said this dish was created to popularize Vodka in Italy.
If you dont drink alcohol, this is one dish that you can substitute chicken stock or another type of stock. Note that it wont be quite the same. One bite of this delicious pasta sauce, and I know you will think vodka sauce is one of the best pasta dishes you can serve. It may even become a new family favorite.
What Should You Do With Leftover Penne Alla Vodka
- Store the pasta sauce seperately from the cooked pasta in an airtight container for up to five days in your refrigerator.
- Freeze left overs again, pasta sauce in penne pasta seperately for up to 4 months.
- For best results reheat the sauce in a small pot over medium-low heat. You may want to add a bit more cream to the sauce when reheating to thin it out a bit.
How To Serve Penne Alla Vodka
Once your pasta is assembled, scoop it onto plates or into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Sometimes we also like to add fresh basil leaves as an edible garnish with a little extra zing.
This pasta dinner goes so well with our homemade Creamy Caesar Salad! I mean, does it get any better than a plate of warm, saucy pasta topped with melty cheese and served with a crisp homemade salad on the side? No, it does not get any better my friends.
Chianti In Your Glass Vodka In The Sauce
Vodka sauce. Youve probably heard of it, maybe youve ordered it in a restaurant, or even bought it in a jar to eat at home. But heres the thingyou havent really had vodka sauce until youve made it yourself at home. Nothing compares to the lusciously creamy pink sauce that this vodka sauce recipe yields. Garlic, pancetta, and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are a flavor-giving triple-threat that make this classic Italian American pasta sauce recipe transcendently good.