Gimme Some Oven Blog: Penne Alla Vodka

Happy Hump Day folks!

Is it weird that it is hump day and I’m cooking a dish that Rachel Ray has called, and I quote, “You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta.”  Jokes on you, Rachel, I have been single for awhile and no amount of pasta is gonna fix that.


But I digress, we are not here to speak of my dating life – we are here to speak of Ali’s recipe on Gimme Some Oven.

It’s good.  Though, I think my addition of all the things (meat, extra veg) and a bit of my impatience (I was really, really hungry and didn’t let the sauce thicken enough) sorta messed with it on the first night….but…..

The next few days, the leftovers…oh they were a thing of beauty.  The flavours became far more robust.  The sauce was a bit thicker.  It really all just came together as time wore on.  It went from a three knives to a five knives review, literally overnight.

The recipe itself is pretty darn simple, too.  If you don’t add the extra stuff…or perhaps you have already prepped stuff like sliced mushrooms and pre-cooked protein, all you have to worry about is chopping the garlic and onions/shallots.  Everything else is just opening containers and measuring.  It is truly one of those “everything’s out of the pantry” recipes and I intend to keep my pantry stocked with the items I need for this recipe.


an assault on the senses

I will warn you though….the cooking down of the vodka…that is not a pleasant smelling process. It was the only time this dish did not smell wonderful and was among the longest three to five minutes of my life.

Vodka smells aside, I would recommend you make the dish and do so as soon as possible.  I am definitely going to try it again, but as it was originally posted, without the add ins, just to try it in it’s purist form.

Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,



Gimme Some Oven’s Penne Alla Vodka

(Vodka Cream Pasta)

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 12 ounces dried penne pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots or half a medium red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup torn or julienned fresh basil leaves, divided
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Note: I sautéed about a cup of sliced mushrooms and some spinach in a bit of olive oil and cooked a pound (454 grams) of lean ground beef. Mushrooms were included with the garlic and shallot sautee section.  Spinach and meat was added during the final 5-10 minutes of that last simmer.



Heat a large stockpot of generously salted water.  Once you reach “add the heavy cream stage” to this recipe (later in the directions), you should add the pasta to the salted water and cook al dente according to package instructions.  Drain.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Cook your mushrooms if you want to add them…otherwise, add shallots (or red onion), and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and continue sauteing for 1-2 more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Add vodka, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the sauce reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering for about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by almost half.  NOTE: this is wear you add your cooked protein.

Stir in the heavy cream and half (1/4 cup) of the basil.  (  Reduce heat to low and let the sauce continue to simmer until the pasta has cooked.

Once the pasta is ready, return it to the stockpot and pour the sauce on top.  Toss the pasta until it is evenly coated with the sauce.

Serve immediately, garnished with the extra basil and Parmesan cheese.


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