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Penne Pasta with Tomato Vodka Sauce |

Penne Pasta with Tomato Vodka Sauce

  • Author: Sara Haas
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 links Italian turkey sausage, mild or hot
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 oz chopped, frozen spinach (or about 1 pound fresh baby spinach)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound whole grain penne pasta
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, room temp
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish


  1. Place the tomatoes and basil in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot with water and add salt. Set over high heat and bring to a boil while you prep the sauce. 
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove the sausage from its casings and cook, stirring to crumble, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Next stir in the bell peppers and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir, cooking until most of the water has evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. 
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring continuously until it turns a deep red color, about 5 minutes. Add the vodka and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping the bottom to pull up any browned bits. Next add the pureed tomatoes and the crushed red pepper. Let simmer while you cook the pasta. 
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving about ¼ cup of the pasta liquid. 
  6. Stir the cream into the tomato sauce then add the cooked pasta and cheese. Mix in a little of the reserved pasta water for a little extra creaminess. Garnish with any extra basil or cheese.
  • Prep Time: 10 mintues
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: pasta, dinner, quick dinner recipe, dinner in 30 minutes

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