Penne with Vodka/Pink Sauce Recipe

My penne with pink sauce recipe is one I cook up quite often in my house. It's one of those dishes that I can always  rely on to be simple in preparation and please everyone at the dinner table. With the nine days here it is obviously on the menu and I plan to serve it as part of tommorrow nights dinner. I have changed it up several times since the first time I cooked it. Although I have lots of different versions and variations and have already blogged about it as well, I am going to update you with my most recent and favorite version yet. I have also already filmed a video for this recipe which went up on Youtube a few weeks back so go check that out here to see step by step instructions as I cook it up myself. I personally enjoy this specific dish in the more typical form- cooked all the way through and saucey. My husband on the other hand likes his al dente' and then baked like you would with baked ziti for a few minutes to get a good crisp on the top. More often then not I seperate the pasta in portions to suit everyones preference.

Some variation options:

Vodka: You can choose to use vodka in your sauce. My recipe does not include it as I do not often add it in. If you do want to add it I would reccomend to use about 1/4 cup for 1 lb. of pasta or less placing it in immediately after melting down the butter and cooking up the fresh garlic. Allow the alcohol to cook out for about 5-10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients to achieve the best flavor. 

Herb Garnish- I choose parsley as it doesn't have much flavor but is there mostly to add a pretty look to the dish. Basil, dill  and any other herbs of choice would work just fine too.

Low Fat: To cut down on calories, substitute the heavy cream for low fat milk and use a reduced fat parmesan cheese as well. Brown rice or whole wheat pasta would be a good choice too. 

Cheeses: If you like a pasta dish that is more cheese filled then  feel free to mix in a shredded one like mozzarella or muenster. 

Baked: If you like your penne like a baked ziti then pour some pasta cooked al dente already combined with your sauce into a baking dish and bake on 350 for 5-15 minutes depending how crispy you would like the top to be. Top with some shredded cheese and extra sauce towards the last 5 minutes of cooking. 

Add ins: I choose to use fresh garlic or cubed frozen garlic in my penne but feel free to add in onions, mushrooms, peppers or any other vegetable you like. I would reccomend adding those in to saute at the point you would the garlic. Cooked fish would make a nice addition to this dish as well and should be added after mixing the pasta with the sauce. 

Spicy:  If you like your foods to be spicy then add some red pepper flakes to the sauce as it's cooking up. 

And now the recipe:

Penne with Vodka/Pink Sauce:


1 16 oz Box Penne Rigate Pasta 
1 Tsp. Fresh Chopped Garlic or 1 Frozen Garlic Cube
2 Tablespoons Butter 
Salt & Pepper to taste + 1 Teaspoon for water in pot
1 Teaspoon Oil
1 15 oz Can Ungars Tomato Sauce 
(1/3 Cup) 3/4 of  the entire 3.5 oz Container Haolam Grated Parmesan Cheese
(1/2 Cup)/Smallest Carton Rich's Whip Heavy Cream (Defrosted)
1 Tsp Parsley & Parmesan Cheese for Garnish


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over a medium flame. Add a teaspoon of salt at this point to bring the water to a boil faster and add flavor to the pasta. Also add a teaspoon of whatever oil you have on hand to the pot which will help keep the pasta pieces from sticking to each other or to the bottom of the pot. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, lower the flame a bit and add the entire box of pasta in. Stir immediately. Allow to cook to desired doneness. 

2. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat being melting it completely. Do not allow it to brown at all. Add the fresh garlic at this point to saute for a few minutes. (If you are using the frozen garlic it gets added in later) 

3. Add in the salt, pepper and tomato sauce at this point. Mix over the flame constantly as it will bubble and splatter otherwise. Allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes before adding the Parmesan cheese in about 1/4 cup at a time. Stir the cheese in and mix to combine. It should thicken up a bit. Once all of the cheese has melted you can add the cube of frozen garlic if you haven't already used the fresh one previously. Then add the heavy cream and lower the flame. Stir the cream in for a minute or two and shut the flame. 

4. Strain the pasta immediately once it is cooked to desired doneness and place it in a large serving bowl. Stir in the sauce and mix to combine.

 5. Garnish the entire bowl or each individual plate with some parsley and some Parmesan cheese and serve. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Hope your 9 days is going smoothly! Hope you will enjoy the recipe! 

Want to get some tips for cooking pasta? Read last weeks cooking tip of the week here where I dedicated an entire post to the cooking pasta topic.

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