Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Penne Arrabbi-vodka

I love spicy pasta.  Well, I like spicy food in general, but I especially like spicy pasta.  One of my favorites is arrabbiata sauce.  Arrabbiata is Italian for angry, which is one of my favorite parts of the sauce.  I mean, who doesn't like angry pasta?

The traditional arrabiata sauce is basically tomato, garlic, and red chili pepper cooked in olive oil.  Which is easy.  So easy in fact that I wanted to spice it up a bit.  I decided to improve on an old favorite by playing around with the ingredients.  I decided to make a vodka-arrabiata sauce.  But I've never made a vodka sauce before.  And while searching for a good recipe, I ran across Mary's vodka cream sauce.  I thought the cream would serve as a nice counterpart to the spicy red chili pepper of the arrabbiata sauce.  I did reduce the amount of cream though - it's not the primary aspect of this dish and you don't need a lot to make the sauce creamy. 

The result is an impossibly creamy, spicy sauce.  It's pasta with a kick.  I made it with penne, but in the future I think penne rigate, or even rigatoni would be a better choice as the ridges would catch and hold the sauce a little better.  Although, as you can see, this makes a nice, thick chunky sauce which seems to cling pretty well.

Penne Arrabbi-vodka
1/2 box of penne pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig oregano
1/3 cup vodka
1 can peeled plum tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

  1. Cook the penne according to directions on box. Preheat oven to 375. Heat the oil in an oven proof pan. Cook the onions until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, red pepper, oregano, and cook just until fragrant - 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vodka and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Puree the tomato mixture until smooth and return to the pan, reheat. Add the cream and stir.
  6. Toss the pasta with the sauce and cook until heated through.


  1. Tis sounds does sound incredible and perfect for a weekday meal!!

  2. And there you have it. I shall never make vodka or cream sauce without spice. Ever again.

  3. I love arrabiata sauce, but I imagine it is even better with cream!