Penne Alla Vodka

And now, for a recipe that is sure to become a staple in our house: Penne Alla Vodka. I first became aware of the magic that is a vodka cream sauce in a Smart Ones frozen meal: 

Granted, the frozen dinner was not the most amazing thing I've ever eaten, but as far as frozen dinners go, it was pretty good. Then, I found this recipe here from Divine Bite--and it was amazing. Not only did my husband clean his plate and go back for seconds (which is how I gauge how successful any recipe is), but he even finished the scraps I left behind on my own plate. I don't believe I have ever witnessed my husband have a third helping of any food, so that should give you an idea of just how tasty this recipe was!

To start, you will need the following ingredients: 

1 lb. penne pasta
¼ - ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup vodka, good quality
4 tbsp butter
½ large onion, diced
3 tbsp tomato paste
¾ cup heavy cream (I used light to make it a bit healthier)
½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt & pepper to taste

First, cook your penne in well-salted water according to package directions. When it is finished cooking, be sure to reserve a couple tablespoons of the cooking liquid in case your sauce ends up too thick. Add the crushed red pepper flakes to the vodka and allow it to steep before moving on to the next step.

Next, melt the butter in a large skillet, add your onion, and cook over medium-high heat until translucent. Add in the vodka/red pepper flakes and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and turn heat to low. (I only had leftover homemade marinara sauce, so I simply used 3 tablespoons of that).

Add the cream and parmesan cheese and stir well. Heat through, then add your penne to the skillet to coat evenly with the sauce. If at this point your sauce is too thick, add the reserved cooking liquid.

Serve with an extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese and some parsley, and enjoy!

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