One Recipe, Two Meals: Penne with a Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 4 servings (2 kids, 2 adults)
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 25 min



1 pound penne pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, blended in a food processor

1/2 cup heavy cream

Grated Parmesan and basil leaves, for garnish

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 pinch crushed red pepper

1 shot (50 milliliters) vodka


  1. Let's start simple for the kids. You'll bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook it until al dente. Drain it-like always, you know. 
  2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in another medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and let bloom until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and a small pinch of salt. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add in the heavy cream and simmer another 5. 
  3. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the penne and divide between 2 small bowls. Ladle the creamy sauce over the pasta and garnish with Parmesan. Maybe add a little bit of basil if your kids like it. Done! 
  4. Now for you: Let's get back to the creamy sauce. Add the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and vodka; let it simmer another 5 minutes or so. Taste it and add a pinch of salt if needed. 
  5. You can either toss the remaining pasta with the sauce (my preferred method), or ladle the sauce over the penne. Do whatever makes you sob like a baby. 
  6. Garnish with more freshly grated Parmesan and basil leaves! Serve with a giant green salad, crusty bread and WINE (obviously the wine). All caps necessary. For the love. The end.

Let's Get Cooking!

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