One of my husbands favorite dishes is Penne alla Vodka. He tries to order it any time we are in an Italian restaurant – I guess you could say he’s become a bit of a Vodka sauce expert since he’s had it so many times! LOL He’s from Staten Island and has been telling me that a place called “Mr. Pizza” has been making the best Penne Vodka dish he’s ever had, to date. And now that we live closer to the Philly area, he still claims his SI place is the best!
I wanted to try making a Vodka sauce on my own and after some research on recipes (both simple and complex versions), as well as multiple attempts on how to make it as simple as possible for a quick meal, I finally found a way to make it not only have an authentic “Vodka” flavor, but throw in some spinach in the sauce to create this rich, creamy and cheesy Vodka sauce that you can use as a pasta sauce or dipping sauce for your breads.
Vodka Sauce (with Spinach)
Serves: 6-8 people
-1/4 cup of Vegetable/Canola oil
-3 Tbsp of butter
-2 to 3Tbsp of minced garlic or garlic paste
-1/2 tsp of salt (add more if desired)
-1/2 tsp of ground black pepper (add more if desired)
-1/4 cup of fresh and finely chopped basil (*Dry Basil is fine too)
-1 pint of heavy cream
-28 oz can of Tomato Puree OR 1 bottle of Pasta sauce (any brand – blend in mixer till smooth)
-10 oz of fresh or frozen chopped spinach
-8 to 10 oz of grated parmesan cheese (good quality)
– 1 cup of Vodka (optional)
- In a large sauce pan or skillet, melt butter and oil together till hot and sizzley.
- Add garlic and allow to brown in melted oil/butter mixture till slightly golden brown.
- Add vodka and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (*See Notes)
- After time, add your spinach, salt, pepper and cook in the vodka/butter mixture for about 5 minutes. (*See Notes)
- Add tomato sauce/puree, basil and heavy cream and mix all ingredients for about 5-7 minutes or until bubbly.
- Add parmesan cheese into sauce and mix together slowly on medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes or until sauce is creamy and all ingredients are incorporated.
- Toss & Serve with your favorite pasta and/or meat. (*See Notes)
- IF you choose to use a store-bought chunky or seasoned Pasta sauce, make sure to blend in mixer to remove all chunks. You want a smooth consistency like a puree.
- If you don’t want to use Vodka, move from Step 2 to Step 4 and continue.
- Vegetarian Option – toss sauce with favorite pasta and roasted vegetables
- For a smoother sauce, you can skip the spinach.