I saw a meme the other day that read: what's your go to order at a restaurant and why is it Penne All Vodka? So if you're wondering what inspired this recipe... that's it. A meme.
This recipe truly has it ALL. Al dente penne nestled into a creamy vodka sauce with just a bit of a bite.
A typical vodka sauce has a lot of heavy cream. I've found I can obtain the same level of creaminess with just a bit of half and half and nut based milk.
The protein and vegetables in this recipe are not set in stone, use what you have on hand!
I used both chicken and shrimp for my proteins and then a medley of what was in my fridge, freezer and pantry for the veggies. I went with grape tomatoes, zucchini, frozen peas and canned artichokes!
The fresh basil in this recipe gives the sauce the perfect amount of freshness and color and the red pepper flakes add just enough bite. Of course, add more if you want it extra spicy and cut in half for a milder version.
Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetables
4 Servings | Cook time: 15 minutes
Notes: I love this vodka sauce. The perfect amount of bite (thanks vodka and red pepper flakes) with a splash of creaminess. Get creative with the protein and veggies and make this recipe your own!
10-12 oz chicken
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
8 oz whole grain penne
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced (~80g)
Vegetables of choice: I did 2/3 cup peas, 1 can artichokes, 1 cup grape tomatoes, 1 medium zucchini
1 oz vodka
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup half and half
1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup parmesan
6 oz shrimp, frozen deveined and detailed
1/4 cup fresh basil
Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan to sear. Sear the first side for 3-4 minutes, flip, and sear the second side for another 3-4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to rest.
Bring a separate medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, liberally salt the water and add the penne cooking according to the box instructions, stirring occasionally.
While the pasta is cooking, add the remaining olive oil to the sauté pan. Add garlic, onions and whatever vegetables need to be softened. I added the zucchini and grape tomatoes at this point. Sauté the veggies for about 2-3 minutes.
Pour the vodka into the veggies, stir and allow it to cook another minute or so. Add the tomato paste to the pan next. Allowing it to hit the bottom of the pan and cook a little to release all of the flavors. Toss the veggies with the tomato paste until evenly mixed, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in the half and half and almond milk to the pan. The tomato paste should mix nicely into the liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower to a simmer. Stir in parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and remaining vegetables that don’t need to soften (I used artichokes and frozen peas).
Add shrimp to the vodka sauce allowing it to cook 2-3 minutes before flipping the shrimp to cook another 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Stir the pasta into the sauce along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss until coated. Add additional 1/4 cup pasta water if necessary.
Right before serving, toss pasta with fresh basil and serve topped with extra parmesan, basil, and red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy).
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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.