Simple Penne Alla Vodka

For some reason, New Jersey’s March weather has been much worse than February. We’ve gotten hit with snowstorm after snowstorm, and to me, it calls for one thing—comfort food. I’ve probably shared my love for pasta more times than necessary, but I love this recipe because most people don’t realize how easy it is to make delicious vodka sauce.

Whenever I make vodka sauce, I always get the question: Does vodka sauce actually have vodka? The answer is yes! The trick is to let the vodka simmer with the sauce long enough for the alcohol to burn off. You’re left with delicious flavor—minus the alcohol content.

This sauce takes a little more than 30 minutes to make. If you have extra time, the longer it simmers, the better the flavors will come together. However, for the sake of time, following these directions will still give you a rich and flavorful sauce that makes the perfect hearty meal.

Ingredients: Makes 3-4 servings
1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
16 ounces canned crushed tomatoes (I prefer Italian tomatoes)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons quality vodka
8 ounces penne pasta
salt, pepper, oregano to taste

In a medium pot, add onions, garlic, and a splash of olive oil (reserve most for later), and sauté on low for about 3 minutes. Combine tomatoes with onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add remaining olive oil, stir, and let tomato sauce cook 10 minutes on medium-low. Add vodka and stir, then add cream. Then, in a separate pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. Simmer vodka sauce on low the whole time pasta cooks. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper (optional). Pour over pasta and serve.


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