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Penne Pasta with Tomato Cream Vodka Sauce

Delicious any night of the week!
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For the Pasta:

  • 1 cup dry mini penne pasta or your favorite pasta
  • 4 dashes salt for the boiling water

For the Pasta Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter for sautéing the onion and garlic
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter for brown butter
  • 2 cups tomato puree or tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • ¾ cup vodka
  • 1 cup half and half or cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese or grated


For the Pasta:

  • In a medium size sauce pan, add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Let cook until the pasta is al-dente (still firm) according to package instructions. 
  • Drain the pasta (but don't rinse; you want the pasta to keep its starch so it will hold and absorb the sauce).  Set aside.

For the Pasta Sauce:

  • For Sautéing the Onion and Garlic - Heat a medium-size sauce pan on medium heat and add butter. As the butter is melting add the onions and garlic, and stir. Let cook until the onions start to turn translucent. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan on to a plate or small bowl. Set aside.
  • For the Browned Butter - Heat the same pan on low to medium heat and add the butter. Continuously stir as the butter melts. Keep stirring until the butter starts to turn a golden color. 
  • Then add the onions back to the pan.  Add the tomato puree, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, dried basil, vodka, and cream (or half and half). 
  • Stir and let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve warm over pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.



Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. 
When pasta is rinsed, the starch is removed.  The starch on pasta helps to hold and absorb the sauce so it’s important to keep the starch on the pasta.