When you want to make a delicious pasta dinner, look no further than this Pasta Alla Vodka recipe. The sauce in this recipe is amazing and you'll want to eat it by the spoonful. As an added bonus, it's an incredibly easy recipe to make!
What is Pasta alla Vodka
Pasta alla vodka or penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a creamy tomato sauce. It rose in popularity in the 1980s and is essential Italian American cuisine. While you won't find this recipe at many authentic italian restaurants, it's a popular american dish for a reason!
How is Vodka Sauce made?
Vodka sauce is made by cooking onions and garlic in a dutch oven with a bit of olive oil until onions have softened. Then tomato paste is added and cooked for several minutes. Vodka is then added to deglaze the pan before adding the cream. Once all ingredients are added, the sauce simmers until thickened.
Can Penne Alla Vodka Get you Drunk?
NO, the vodka in this sauce will not get you drunk. As with cooking with any alcohol, the alcohol in the liquid is cooked off. So while you're left with the taste of the alcohol used, the amount of alcohol actually remaining in the dish is negligible. That being said if you are pregnant or have a condition where alcohol intake should be avoided, use your best judgement when ingesting anything made with alcohol.
The secret of why this sauce is so good
The reason why this sauce is so good is because the alcohol acts as an emulsifier. That means it's able to hold together both cream and acid without separation. Usually adding cream to an acidic tomato sauce will cause the sauce to separate and the cream to curdle. But because of the vodka in this recipe, everything is held together. Unfortunately that also means that you can't make this recipe if you omit the vodka.
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Pasta Alla Vodka
- 1 Onion Diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4.5 Oz Tomato Paste
- ½ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 Oz Vodka
- ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
- 4 Oz Parmesan Cheese Grated
- 1 Pound Rigatoni
- Basil Leaves Optional
- In a large dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat. Add in onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook until softened and onions are translucent.
- Add in tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and stir to evenly coat onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Deglaze pan with vodka sauce, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of pan.
- Add the cream to the pan slowly and stir to fully incorporate until sauce is smooth. Remove from heat so sauce does not burn.
- Cook rigatoni per package instructions until al dente.
- Add ½ cup of pasta water to sauce and stir in parmesan cheese until sauce is smooth and creamy. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. If sauce is too thick, add in more pasta water.
- Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat. Serve with parmesan on top and basil leaves if desired. Enjoy!
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