Sunday, November 29, 2009

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Last week my husband took over the kitchen again. He decided to make a simple penne with vodka sauce recipe from Giada over at food network. He made it even simpler by using some store bought marinara sauce as a base. It was a perfect dinner for a Sunday night. We spent most of the afternoon painting furniture, studying, and picking up some new home accents for the house, so we were were running around all day.

Penne with Vodka Sauce
courtesy Giada de Laurentiis

1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce, blended until smooth
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy light cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound penne

Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.

Chef's Notes
I'm not sure if the vodka taste was too strong because of the vodka we used (Ketel One) or because the recipe called for too much. The first night we ate this, my mouth tingled a little bit from the vodka. The next night it must have cooked down a little more when we reheated the sauce because the taste was not as strong. I would recommend cooking the sauce down a little longer, maybe 30 minutes.

We also used light instead of heavy cream to make the meal a little more health conscious. The result was a sauce that was not quite as pink as a vodka sauce you would get in a restaurant. It was just as delicious, though, so I'm not complaining.

If you want to make the sauce from scratch instead of using a jarred sauce, you can find the recipe on the food network site (see link above). Since we didn't use the recipe, I didn't post it.


  1. beautiful picture! I love pasta and your post is making me hungry :)

  2. I found your post by looking up how to fix my strong vodka sauce. Come to find out I used the same Giada recipe and I even used kettle one. I agree..either use less vodka or simmer longer.