How To Make Penne Vodka Sauce

How To Make Penne Vodka Sauce

Are you tired of the same old pasta sauce options and looking for a new way to spice up your dinners? Look no further than this delicious and easy-to-make penne vodka sauce recipe! You’ll turn an ordinary pasta night into an extraordinary one with this creamy, flavorful sauce that's sure to impress everyone at the table. As part of our comprehensive vodka guide series at Vodka Doctors, we're diving into vodka's versatility beyond just cocktails to bring you one of the most loved pasta dishes in Italian cuisine. So grab your favorite vodka and let's get cooking!

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Ingredients You'll Need:

To create this delicious penne vodka sauce, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb Penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 small Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Vodka (choose a good-quality vodka for a better tasting sauce)
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes (optional, for a spicy kick)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Step By Step Instructions:

Creating the penne vodka sauce is incredibly easy! Just follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Prepare the pasta: Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for later use, then drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Make the vodka sauce: Begin by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the chopped onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and softened. Add the minced garlic, stirring constantly to avoid burning, and cook for another minute.
  3. Add vodka and tomatoes: Carefully pour the vodka into the skillet with the onion and garlic mixture. Allow the vodka to simmer for 2-3 minutes to let the alcohol reduce. Add the crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes (if using) to the skillet, stirring until well combined. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cream and cheese: Reduce the heat to low, then stir in the heavy cream. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, allowing the sauce to slightly thicken. Add the grated Parmesan, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Combine pasta and sauce: Add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet with the vodka sauce, tossing until the pasta is fully coated. If the sauce is too thick, use the reserved pasta water to thin it out as needed.

Serving Suggestions:

This penne vodka sauce is delicious as-is, but you can also customize it to your preferences! Consider adding some of these toppings or mix-ins:

  • Grilled or sautéed chicken, shrimp, or sausage
  • Roasted vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms
  • Additional Parmesan cheese or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top

How To Make Penne Vodka Sauce Example:

When you make this penne vodka sauce, you'll find that the savory blend of garlic, onions, tomatoes, and vodka mixed with rich and velvety cream creates a truly unforgettable dining experience. Whether you keep it simple and pair it with your favorite protein or load it up with an array of veggies, this versatile recipe will have everyone asking for seconds!

Sample Recipe Image:

Penne pasta with vodka sauce garnished with fresh basil

In conclusion, penne vodka sauce is a delicious and surprisingly easy to make dish that is sure to become a favorite in your home. Thank you for discovering this recipe with us at Vodka Doctors! If you enjoyed these delectable culinary delights with vodka, be sure to explore our other articles and vodka guides. Please share our how-to guide on penne vodka sauce with your friends and family as well - nothing brings people together quite like sharing the love of good food and great vodka! Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is penne vodka sauce?

Penne vodka sauce is a creamy tomato-based sauce that is enriched with vodka and typically features a smooth texture and a balance of flavors. It is commonly served with penne pasta but can be used with various types of pasta.

What type of pasta works best with vodka sauce?

While penne pasta is traditional for vodka sauce due to its tubular shape that holds the sauce well, other pastas like rigatoni, fusilli, or even spaghetti can also work well with this versatile sauce.

Can I make vodka sauce without vodka?

Yes, you can make a similar sauce without vodka, though the distinct flavor it imparts will be missing. Often, the vodka is said to intensify the tomato flavor and add a more rounded taste to the sauce.

Is vodka sauce safe for children to eat?

Generally, the alcohol from the vodka evaporates during the cooking process, making it safe for children to eat. However, if you're concerned about any residual alcohol, you may opt to use an alternative ingredient or cook the sauce longer.

Does the vodka in the sauce get completely cooked off?

Most of the alcohol in vodka evaporates during the cooking process, especially if cooked for an extended period. However, trace amounts might remain. Anyone with alcohol restrictions should use caution or consider an alternative recipe.

Can penne vodka sauce be made gluten-free?

Yes, by using gluten-free penne pasta and ensuring that all other ingredients are gluten-free, including the vodka, you can easily adapt this dish for a gluten-free diet.

How can I thicken my vodka sauce?

To thicken vodka sauce, you can simmer it for a longer time to reduce and concentrate the flavors, or add a slurry of cornstarch and water for a quick fix. Be careful not to over-thicken as the sauce will also thicken as it cools.

Is it possible to make a dairy-free version of vodka sauce?

Yes, you can use non-dairy alternatives like cashew cream or coconut milk in place of heavy cream to create a dairy-free vodka sauce.

How can I add spice to my vodka sauce?

Adding red pepper flakes will give your vodka sauce a nice kick. You can also use cayenne pepper or a splash of hot sauce if you prefer.

Can you freeze penne vodka sauce?

Yes, penne vodka sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating gently on the stove for best results.

What can I pair with penne vodka sauce for a complete meal?

Penne vodka sauce pairs nicely with a green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables. For protein, consider adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or even pancetta to your dish.

Is it necessary to use a high-quality vodka for the sauce?

While quality can enhance the overall flavor, it is not necessary to use top-shelf vodka for cooking as the nuances of the vodka are mostly cooked off during preparation.

Can the vodka sauce recipe be doubled or halved?

Yes, you can easily adjust the recipe quantities to double or halve the sauce depending on your needs.

How long will homemade vodka sauce last in the refrigerator?

Homemade vodka sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Make sure to cool the sauce before storing.

What are the main ingredients in penne vodka sauce?

The main ingredients in penne vodka sauce are tomatoes or tomato paste, heavy cream, onions, garlic, vodka, olive oil or butter, and various seasonings such as salt, pepper, and often basil or oregano.

How can I make my vodka sauce creamier?

To make your vodka sauce creamier, you can add more heavy cream to the recipe or blend part of the sauce to create a silkier texture before adding it back to the pan.

Can I make vodka sauce with fresh tomatoes instead of canned?

Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes to make vodka sauce. If doing so, you may need to cook the sauce a bit longer to break down the tomatoes sufficiently, and you might want to peel and seed them first for a smoother consistency.

How much vodka should I use in the sauce?

The amount of vodka typically ranges from a few tablespoons to up to half a cup for a standard recipe serving 4-6 people. Adjust according to your taste preferences and desired alcohol content.

What herb garnishes work well with vodka sauce?

Fresh basil is a classic garnish for vodka sauce, adding a fresh, aromatic touch. You can also try parsley or a dusting of Parmesan cheese for added flavor.

Can I add meat to the vodka sauce?

Yes, adding cooked pancetta, bacon, ground beef, or Italian sausage can add an extra layer of flavor and texture to your penne vodka sauce.

Does using a different type of pasta affect cooking time?

The type of pasta shouldn't significantly affect the cooking time of the sauce. However, you should always cook your pasta according to the package instructions and until it's al dente for the best texture.

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Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

About Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

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