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Penne in Vodka Cream Sauce

July 10, 2007






I have a confession to make. 




Her “You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta” to be exact.


Yeah, I know….why does she have to call it that? It’s so annoying! Supposedly, a fan wrote to her saying that a second helping of this recipe is what prompted her boyfriend to propose…hmmm….good job Rach! Anyways, I digress. It was Sunday night, I had a splitting headache (darn allergies) and I needed nourishment. I was also cooking dinner for Mom and Dad and well, let me put it to you this way, several years ago we a hit a fork in the road of culinary tastes and we went our separate ways. BUT, they’ve eaten this dish before so I knew they definitely liked it. Also, it’s just really easy to make. 


A good dinner was had by all, as was evidenced by the fact that my parents started eating without me!


So here it is. Courtesy of Oprah’s website, word for word!



  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1 cup vodka

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)

  • Coarse salt and pepper

  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn


Serve with:

  • Crusty bread, for passing


Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan (3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup). Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.




P.S. If I was ever fated to meet Anthony Bourdain this probably killed any chance I ever had……sigh.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2007 5:18 pm

    I’ve made several Rachael Ray recipes – and although she can be a bit annoying (and yes, the title has GOT to go) the recipes usually end up tasting really good!!

  2. July 11, 2007 6:34 am

    Hello Shea!!!
    Thank you SO much for adding me to your blogroll, I’m very honored. You’re on mine too, now!
    I really like your blog, your recipes and pictures are great! I’ll keep visiting it again! and I’ll be delighted if you can really participate to my July Fresh Produce of the Month event. 🙂

  3. Ken permalink
    July 11, 2007 4:06 pm

    Yummy! I am going to try this with vegitable stock and see how it turns out. I’ll suprise Heather.

  4. July 12, 2007 7:36 pm

    Everyone needs a recipe for a vodka cream sauce–don’t feel bad that yours came from Rachel Ray. I make one that I pulled off of Cook’s Illustrated and have tweaked a bit. It’s always a good meal.

  5. Maris permalink
    February 6, 2009 7:28 pm

    Sounds great! Elegant + simple. So glad I found your blog!

  6. January 15, 2010 10:53 pm

    I make a similar dish, but I don’t use any chicken stock and only 1/2 cup of vodka.
    Instead, I add about a half cup of the past water to thicken and I also sautee my onion and garlic with 1/4 pound of prosciutto-American is fine, and is cheaper. I have also made due with regular old ham or even bacon.

    But my secret ingredient is…..freshly ground nutmeg. You won’t regret it!

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