Penne alla vodka: an oldie, but a goodie — at least in my book anyway! I used to have this in my Italian-restaurant dinner rotation growing up; somewhere between pizza, stuffed shells and calzones.
As I’ve gotten older, I have started to appreciate a slightly stronger taste of the vodka in this dish. Despite the alcohol being cooked out, the vodka really adds a nice depth of flavor to the, what would otherwise be, simple pink cream sauce.
I still keep this in my dinner rotations, but now I’ll make it a couple times a year at home instead of out at a restaurant.
The vodka sauce is prepared over a few stages, but doesn’t take very long. (Don’t worry about using top shelf vodka here, you’re not drinking this on the rocks or in a cocktail, and I guarantee when you have it out to eat no one is pouring grey goose into your penne alla vodka — just saying.)
Also, frozen peas work perfectly in this dish (one of the few frozen vegetables I keep on hand at all times). You won’t always see green peas in other recipes, but I remember having it in the dish growing up and I always welcomed the bright pop of color it brought to the dish.
No wonder I loved having this all my life — butter, garlic, heavy cream, cheese, prosciutto….um hello!!!
Sometimes I’ll make this dish with chicken, if I’m looking for a little extra protein, but it’s a great stand alone pasta dish, so I’ll often times skip it.
This is a great meal for colder weather, it will warm you up inside and out with the rich vodka cream sauce. The crisped, salty prosciutto and bright green peas add great flavor and texture to round out the plate.
If you weren’t enjoying having this dish growing up like I was, you have to make up for lost time — here’s the recipe for this yummy penne alla vodka!