Penne alla Vodka

Posted by Amy

Carbs and vodka — what’s not to love? Susan shared this recipe from the SA Express News when she was here last week and it’s delicious.  The picture is not good quality and does not do it justice.


  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 4 Tbs. evoo
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 c. vodka
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. tomato sauce (the canned stuff works)
  • 1 c. diced fresh tomatoes (I used more than a cup.  I halved grape tomatoes — probably about 2 cups).
  • 1/2 c. green peas (I LOVE peas and used more.  I used an entire Steamfresh bag.  I figured the more veggies the better).
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • 1. lb raw shrimp
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove minced garlic


In a separate skillet: Saute shrimp (or you could use chicken) with EVOO, minced garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Put these off to the side; you will mix them in later.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and then penne and cook according to directions on package.  While the pasta water is heating, heat the olive oil in a different large skillet.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the vodka, heat it, and carefully ignite the alcohol.  Cook until the flames dissipate. (If you’ve never done this before, it takes longer to go out than you’d think).

Add the cream and bring to a boil.  Watch it carefully as the cream will bubble up.  Stir it down, and reduce the heat so the cream simmers.  Continue cooking, stirring, until the mixture has thickened and reduced in volume by half.

Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Add the cooked pasta, fresh tomato, green peas and shrimp.  Stir until the pasta is coated and all the incredients are heated through.

Serve topped with grated Parm and garnish with fresh basil springs.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Penne alla Vodka

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