I love Pasta
The first time I had penne a la vodka was about 7 years ago at my Friend Petras wedding. It was an intimate wedding, after the ceremony we all went to Crab Shanty in city island NY for dinner. She encouraged me to get the penne a la vodka with shrimp raving about how delicious it was; she was so right. It was super creamy with really rich flavors and juicy shrimp. Since I have already made two shrimp pasta dishes this month I decided to make this one meatless. In addition, I decided to bake it, it’s the one thing I have never seen done so I did it.
Vodka sauce couldn’t be simpler: marinara, cream and vodka, that’s it. If you have been following the blog this month you know I made a large pot or marinara sauce. So it goes without saying that I am finding every excuse in the book to use up the mushroom marinara sauce. I have about two 2 cup portions of it left in the freezer. I am definitely saving it for a lasagna. But in any case back to the vodka sauce, there is something about vodka and tomatoes that work, I don’t know what it is but it works.
The baking is completely optional, this dish is perfection even without being baked, because it retains the creamy nature that penne a la vodka is known for. If you don’t bake it, just stir in all the parmesan and mozzarella before serving. And if you’re wondering how on earth goat cheese found its way into this recipe, it’s because I was out of ricotta. I only had a little tube of goat cheese that I did not want to waste hence the use of it. I was going to omit it from the ingredients and just write that I used ricotta but my conscience would not allow it lol.
Hope you all enjoy this recipe and make sure to make a whole pot of mushroom marinara and freeze them so you can use them to make a whole plethora of pasta dishes.
1 ½ - 2 cup mushroom marinara
1 cup vodka
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup goat cheese or ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon sugar (to balance the flavors)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 box cooked al dente penne
Garnish with chopped basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place a salted pot of water to bring to a boil
- In another pot on high heat combine the mushroom marinara and vodka allow it to come to a boil
- Add the heavy cream and goat cheese turn the heat to low and allow it to simmer while occasionally stirring
- Place the pasta in the pot of salted boiling water to cook according to the package directions
- After the sauce has simmered for 5-8 minutes add ½ cup parmesan cheese and the sugar
- Simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes
- Strain the pasta from the boiling water and add to the vodka sauce
- Pour into an oven safe dish sprinkle the top the remaining parmesan cheese and mozzarella
- Bake in a 400 degree oven until the top is golden brown
- Garnish with chopped basil leaves
- If you don’t have goat cheese or don’t like goat cheese you can use ricotta or cream cheese instead.
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