It has been quite a while since I blogged, but have no fear, I am back with an absolutely delicious dinner!
I typically get cravings for sushi or fried chicken and sometimes pizza, but I rarely get cravings for pasta. Well, there must have been something in the air this week, because I had a craving and decided to make a classic Penne Alla Vodka dish.
I must admit, this was a lot easier to make than I thought, and it was fantastic for dinner and lunch the next day.
The most time consuming part of this dish is making the sauce, therefore it is important to make the vodka sauce first so it has time to simmer for about 20-25 minutes. While the sauce cooks, you can prepare the rest of the dish.
In addition to a box of Penne pasta, you will need:
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 small Onion, diced
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- ½ cup Vodka
- 28 oz. Can Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes
- 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- ½ cup Half & Half
- Seasonings- red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
Prepare the Sauce
With all your ingredients out, cans opened and portions measured you, you can start to make your sauce.
- In a large sauce pan, with high walls, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted and foamy add the onions. Cook the onions gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Next, add the minced garlic. Cook and stir for about 1 minute.
- Finally pour in the vodka and cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir frequently.
- Add the can of whole peeled plum tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce; stir to combine all of the ingredients.
- Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Then cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of aluminum foil. Do not let the sauce boil.
- Cook the vodka sauce for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the Pasta
It will take a similar amount of time for the sauce and pasta to cook. Once you cover your sauce to simmer you can prepare your pasta. I used a whole 16 oz box of pasta, but I love left overs. You can make less pasta and always freeze the vodka sauce.
For the pasta, prepare it according to the box directions. Once the pasta is finished cooking, you can rinse the starch off and set it aside in a large mixing bowl.
Blend the Sauce
Once the sauce has simmered for the 20-25 minutes, you can transfer it to a blender, or use an immersion blender. If you use a blender do not fill it to the very top, and be careful, the sauce is very hot.
Blend the sauce until it is your desired consistency. I like mine mostly smooth, but with a little texture. I started on a low setting then increased it to high. Probably blended for about 2-3 minutes.
With your sauce fully blended, carefully pour the sauce back into the high walled sauce pan you used before and add the Parmesan cheese, Half & Half, and season how you like. I used a lot of red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to low and mix everything together to make a beautiful creamy vodka sauce.
Complete the Dish
With your pasta cooked, and your sauce completed, you can now mix them together. If your sauce pan is large enough, add the pasta to the sauce, and mix over the heat. If not then combine the sauce and pasta in a large bowl and mix well.
Transfer to a plate and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top, a few extra red pepper flakes and if you really get creative put some breaded chicken breasts on top as well.
**To make these- dip each breast in flour, then coat in egg, and then coat in breadcrumbs. Pan sear them in a skillet over medium heat and then bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Or, buy pre-made and follow their cooking instructions.**
Ultimately, this was such a tasty dinner and we had leftovers for days!!