Can’t go wrong with butter, cream, cheese, and vodka.

I saw this recipe for penne and vodka sauce on a delightful blog called What’s For Dinner?  I’ve been dying to try it ever since the lovely blogger featured it in a post about her and her husband’s anniversary dinner (so cute).  I mean, how can you go wrong with butter, cream, cheese, and vodka?  You CAN’T.

Rich and creamy and hearty. A big warm bowl of fantastic carby goodness.

Penne with Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

(adapted from Mara’s recipe on What’s For Dinner?)

Don’t be scared by the amount of butter and cream.  Just embrace it and thank  yourself after that first rich delicious bite for not skimping out on it. Sure, I wouldn’t eat this every single week, but it’s certainly a treat that’s worth it every once in a while.  Plus it’s still much better than the junk I eat once the Taco Bell cravings kick in.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (We like things spicy, so I used about 3 times this amount and probably would use more next time).
  • 3/4 C vodka
  • 3 oz. tomato paste
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce (I only had paste so I combined 1 part paste to 1 part water to equal the sauce)
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C grated Romano cheese (I’m sure Romano would’ve been better, but I used Irish Dubliner cheese instead because that’s all I had.  You’ll see that I use this cheese a lot because R bought a ridiculously huge block of it from Costco)
  • 1/2 pound of pasta


  • Start cooking the pasta.
  • Whisk together the cream with the tomato paste and tomato sauce in a medium-large bowl.  Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the pepper flakes, vodka, and Worcestershire sauce, stir well.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes (Mara says not to turn your back on this part!).
  • Add the tomato mixture to the the butter mixture.
  • Simmer until lightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  This is where you’d add some pasta water if you need.
  • Lower the heat to low and stir in the cheese.
  • Serve pasta and top with sauce.  Or dump the pasta into the pan and mix it up for maximum gooey, saucy goodness.

This was enough for the two of us to feel wonderfully plump and full.  I packed up the rest for R’s lunch and I made a little bit more pasta to mix in with the remaining sauce in the pan for my lunch.  Even just a little bit of this sauce is rich enough to stand on its own and was a better, lighter option for lunch so I wouldn’t be snoozing at my desk.

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2 thoughts on “Can’t go wrong with butter, cream, cheese, and vodka.

  1. I’ve never cooked with Vodka. Does it leave a vodka taste at all? not sure how I’d feel about that.

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