This recipe was inspired by the Pioneer Woman's new Food Network show. For those of you who aren't familiar, The Pioneer Woman lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her husband, four children, and an apparently unlimited number of pets and farm animals. She's funny, sarcastic, and absolutely charming. In a recent episode, she made penne a la vodka, which gave me the idea for this recipe. She called her husband in from some remote corner of the ranch where he was working cattle to test it. I called my husband in from the living room where he was putting together our new nursery furniture. Two hours after we ate dinner and I was writing this post I realized I had intended to include baby spinach in the dish, but completely forgot, so I might just stir it in with the leftovers and call it good.
Penne a la Vodka with Turkey Sausage
1 package sausage (12-16 ounces), sliced. I used hot turkey sausage, but chicken or pork sausage would work, as well.
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 cup vodka
2 cups tomato sauce, or tomato puree
1/2-1 cup cream
Baby spinach, a few handfuls
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
1 box whole wheat penne pasta. It seems that boxes of pasta are all different sizes. The one I used was 12 ounces. Anything between 12-16 ounces would work.
In a large saute pan, brown the sausage slices. Depending on what kind of sausage you use, you might need to coat the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil. I did.
When the sausage is browned, add in the onion. Cook for a few minutes. Add in garlic and cook one minute more.
Pour in vodka, and deglaze the pan. (That just means scrape up any cooked pieces stuck to the bottom).
Mix in tomato sauce. You can easily just use pureed tomatoes, but I had about a cup of tomato sauce leftover and some chopped tomatoes. I really liked the variety in textures, and the addition of the basil and oregano in the sauce.
Pour in the cream. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
Add in the spinach, unless you are like me and forget that step.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan, stir well. This is when you'll be glad you used a really big pan.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
This recipe makes a lot! Great for a crowd.