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penne alla vodka with a glass of red wine

Penne alla Vodka with Parmesan Herb Breadcrumbs

Rachel Riesgraf
The most dreamy pasta! Penne alla vodka is unbelievably creamy and flavorful. This pasta looks fancy, but it's actually one of the easiest and quickest pasta dishes. Everyone should learn how to make penne alla vodka!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dinner
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Parmesan herb breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup regular seasoned croutons (or 1 cup of regular or Italian breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Penne alla vodka

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (½ teaspoon is slightly spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pound penne pasta (or any short pasta noodles)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • fresh basil, roughly chopped, for serving

Instructions
 

Parmesan herb breadcrumbs

  • Crush the croutons in a food processor or blender.
  • In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the crushed croutons, oregano and basil. Mix together and cook for 2-3 minutes until toasted. Mix in the parmesan and cook another 30-60 seconds until melted. Set aside.

Penne alla vodka

  • Add a large pot of water to the stove over high heat.
  • Add oil to a large skillet with tall sides and heat over medium. Add the onion and cook until it begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil; cook another minute.
  • Add your pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes less than the suggested amount of time on the packaging. Reserve at least 1-2 cups of pasta water. While the pasta cooks, continue making your sauce.
  • Add the tomato paste to the skillet and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour in the vodka and let cook off for a 1-2 minutes. Reduce to medium-low heat and add the heavy cream, whisking to combine.
  • Once the pasta is al dente, transfer the pasta to the vodka sauce and add a ½ cup of pasta water. Mix together and let the pasta continue to cook in the sauce for about 3-5 minutes, adding more pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.
  • Mix in the butter and parmesan until melted.
  • Serve with fresh basil and extra parmesan!
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