Cooking On A Budget: Penne a la Vodka with Peppers

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Penne a la Vodka with Peppers

A classic American-Italian style dish with a bit of a twist, Penne a la Vodka with Peppers is hearty and oh so delicious!

The classic version of Penne a la Vodka has heavy cream but I've left it out of this recipe. I am trying to loose some weight before my son's wedding so it's imperative I trim wherever I can when cooking. It actually tastes really great without it so I did not miss it at all. If you are worried about feeding kids, there's very little vodka in the recipe and the alcohol gets reduced down.
I used my handy UTEN food chopper to prep the onion and garlic - that gadget is great! In less than 2 minutes I had both all chopped and ready for the pan. If you missed out on the chopper, follow the link to the post where I gave my review.

There are not a lot of ingredients in the recipe, here's a photograph of a few that you will use. You only need one quarter cup of vodka so if you aren't a vodka drinker, just grab one of those little nippers from the package store.

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup vodka 
  • 1 cup red sauce (your favorite marinara or spaghetti)
  • 1 - 14.5 oz. can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers (any colors you like)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Get your pasta water cooking. Cook the pasta el dente according to the box directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare your onion and garlic. Open your can of tomatoes. Set aside.
  3. Also remove the seeds and white veins of the peppers and cut up into large bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  4. Get a large skillet heating over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Let this heat up for a minute then add the garlic and onions with a bit of salt and black pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are softening and the garlic is emitting its' aroma.
  5. Add the vodka and stir and cook down for a minute or so.
  6. Add in the can of tomatoes and break them down as you add them to the pan or use a wooden spoon.
  7. Next, add in the crushed red pepper flakes. Stir. Then add in your cup of sauce. Stir.
  8. Cook over low heat until the peppers start to soften, about 20-25 minutes.
  9. Drain your pasta and add it to the pan, stir and cook until the pasta is nice and coated and has a chance to absorb some of the flavors.
  10. Taste and adjust for additional salt or pepper.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25
Serves: 4-6
Cost: approximately $8.65, feeding 4 for $2.16 each, or six for $1.44 each.

This is a full, complete and inexpensive meal. It is hearty and satisfying and very flavorful. My number one critic liked it too!

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