What better way to celebrate the day of love than with a festively colored, easy pasta dish to make at home? This recipe is perfect for a Meatless Monday Valentine’s meal. Pour yourself a glass of wine before getting to work on this 20-minute meal and prepare to romance both yourself and your sweetheart.
This recipe is perfectly customizable to what you have on hand. If you don’t have penne, any other pasta will work perfectly fine. Although, I wouldn’t recommend elbows. You could even make the sauce without vodka, should you prefer, so just skip that step. If you want to add fresh mushrooms or spinach to the recipe, add them at the end of step three.
Valentine’s Penne alla Vodka
- 1 pound penne
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole medium onion, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup vodka
- One 14-ounce can tomato puree or tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 generous pinch red pepper flakes, plus more if needed
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
- Cook pasta according to the package. Be sure to reserve the cooked pasta water before draining.
- Sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until soft.
- Pour in the vodka, being careful if your stove has an open flame (remove the pan from the heat before adding). Cook and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the tomato puree. Stir the mixture until it’s thoroughly combined, then reduce the heat to low.
- Pour in the heavy cream. Stir to combine, then turn heat to the lowest simmer possible. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, stir in the reserved pasta water. Add the drained pasta into the sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle on the Parmesan, then sprinkle on more red pepper flakes if desired.