Home-cooked meals just hit differently. However, when you’re a working professional, it’s not always possible to make a four-course meal to enjoy.
Here’s a simple penne a la vodka recipe that you can make quickly and save easily to bring to work during the rest of the week. The best part? You only need one pot for the sauce, so you minimize clean-up as much as possible!
Follow this simple recipe so you can get a delicious meal on the table without too much work.
- 2 lbs (56oz) of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 4 oz of parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- Sea salt
- Cracked pepper
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- ¼ cup of minced garlic
- One small to medium onion
- ¼ cup of vodka (optional)
- Grab a large pot that will hold all the ingredients for the sauce. Set the heat to medium and drizzle a quarter cup of olive oil on the bottom, coating as well as you can. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the diced onions.
- Grind salt and pepper onto the onions. Let them simmer until translucent, 3-4 minutes.
- Pour one quarter cup of vodka onto the garlic and onion combination. Mix carefully. Let it sit for about 3 minutes so the alcohol can start to burn off. (If you don't want to add the vodka, skip this step.)
- When you add the vodka, be careful not to let the oil splash, and with a gas stove, don’t let the alcohol come in contact with the open flame.
- Add the fresh basil leaves by ripping them into smaller pieces. Add the quarter cup of garlic. Stir, letting it saute until fragrant (1 minute).
- Open the cans of tomatoes while the onions finish sautéing. Pour them carefully over the mixture, taking care not to let the olive oil splatter.
- If you want a thicker sauce, drain the diced tomatoes.
- Stir the mixture together and wait until it starts to boil.
- While you're waiting for the tomato mixture to boil, grate the cheese. Using a fresh block of parmesan cheese will make a huge difference.
- Pre-grated cheese has an additive that prevents it from clumping, which makes it resistant to melting into a sauce.
- Before you add the dairy, start a pot of water so it can begin to boil so you can add your penne pasta to the sauce later.
- Once the tomato sauce has boiled, pour one half cup of heavy cream into the pot, stirring, and then let the sauce simmer.
- Once you've stirred in the cream, start to sprinkle in the cheese, mixing as you go. Add this in gradually, giving the cheese time to melt. Don't add it all at once. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once you've added cheese, continue to stir, scraping the bottom to keep the cheese from burning at the bottom of the pan. After stirring for a few minutes, add the pasta to the water and follow instructions on the box to cook it al dente.
- While the penne pasta cooks, continue to stir until the cheese fully melts into the sauce.
- Once the pasta has finished, set the drained pasta in a bowl beside the sauce.
- If you add the pasta to the vodka sauce recipe too soon, it will continue to cook the pasta, resulting in limp and almost melted noodles. For the first penne alla vodka serving, pour the sauce over the pasta on your individual portion, rather than mixing all the pasta and the sauce together.
- Add shredded Romano or parmesan cheese on top and garnish with a fresh basil leaf, if desired.
Penne a La Vodka Recipe Prep
This recipe makes prep as easy as possible, so all you need to do is dice the onions. Everything else, like the garlic and tomatoes, are already minced and diced, so you don't have to peel and cut garlic or crush the tomatoes. This decreases your prep time exponentially.
Penne a La Vodka Cooking Instructions
Clean Up and Meal Prep
Make the next week's lunch prep easy on yourself by packing away the leftovers into to-go containers. By setting aside the penne in pre-packaged containers, you eliminate the need to prep for lunch in the morning. Just like most soups, pasta sauces are really easy to reheat in the microwave, which makes them perfect for bringing to work.
This penne a la vodka recipe makes prep and cooking as easy as possible. If you’re looking for more recipes to try to spice up your lunch, check out the rest of the check out the rest of the WBD recipes!
Food photography by Still Poetry Photography
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.