Thursday, December 12, 2013

D is for: Drunken Noodles {Penne alla Vodka}

Most people simply eat something they enjoy and that's the end of it. Many times, when I eat something I really like, I start thinking about the "why's" and the "how's."

Take vodka sauce for example. It's so simple, yet so good. And so different from traditional marinara sauce. It's got a little heat, a bright tomatoey flavor, and balanced with a touch of cream.

So when I came up with the idea of creating an easy vodka sauce featuring Stoli vodka, it got me thinking... what does the vodka really add anyways?

The Food Lab came to the rescue again... breaking it down in this article. The alcohol actually acts as a sugar to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes, so long as it's cooked off properly. They recommend 1/4 cup of vodka per quart of sauce.

I did a much higher concentrate, but I also allowed my sauce to simmer longer, which perhaps cooked off more of the booze. Either way, when paired with my favorite marinara sauce, it makes the perfect weeknight meal. Add chicken or shrimp for protein, or leave as-is for a vegetarian dish.

To read more and get the recipe, click here to head on over to

Penne alla Vodka

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: entree vegetarian vodka marinara sauce tomato Italian

  • 2 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • ½ cup Stoli vodka
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, for garnish
  • a few handfuls of dry penne pasta
  1. Combine your favorite marinara sauce, along with the vodka and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. (This will allow the alcohol to cook out).
  2. In the meantime, boil pasta to al dented in salted water, according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Once the sauce is done simmering, stir in cream and Parmesan and let it warm a couple minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Top with fresh basil, and more sprinkles of Parmesan. Serve with garlic bread.
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