Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Penne Alla Vodka With Arugula

Penne alla vodka is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  It is not so healthy, I'll admit (thanks to the heavy cream, which is unavoidable).  But, it is much lighter tasting than a traditional Italian pasta sauce, so it is always an enjoyable treat.  I like to make my penne vodka with shallots and arugula, so both are incorporated into this recipe.  One of the keys in this recipe is making sure to boil away the alcohol in the vodka, so the sauce picks up a bit of the flavor.  This is an old favorite recipe of mine that I always make basically the same way.  My husband, Brad, is also a big fan of this classic dish.  It's really hard to mess this one up - the instructions are very simple and the result is always rewarding.  It's perfect for a weekday night after work, since it doesn't take a long time to prepare.  Also, there are always ample leftovers, which make for a nice lunch the next day.

Sasha's Penne Alla Vodka
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup vodka
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 cups plain tomato sauce
1-2 large handfulls of baby arugula
freshly grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
pepper to taste

First, saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned in a medium sized pot.  Then add the vodka over medium heat, and allow the alcohol to burn off (this process only takes about 1-2 minutes).  Then add the heavy cream, tomato sauce and a bit of pepper and simmer until the sauce has the right consistency.  Just before the sauce is done, add 1-2 handfuls of arugula, which adds a bit of bitterness to balance the flavors.  Then, toss with the pasta and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Pasta With Vodka Sauce



  1. Penne Vodka is the past pasta dish ever. EVER.

  2. Now that they make the whole wheat pastas, we've been making more pasta dishes. I can't wait to try this. The sauce looks to die for!

  3. These proportions of ingredients make for a light, delicious vodka sauce. It's lighter than you might find in some restaurants. Also, note that this version excludes pancetta or bacon which you sometimes see included. The shallots are a nice alternative.

  4. This looks so enticing right now, Sasha. I'm hungry. I have some orzo, so I'm going to see if I can make something similar...

  5. Penne alla vodka will always be one of my favorites.

  6. Sounds very tempting! I like the addition of arugula!


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