Penne a la Vodka with White Beans
and roasted broccoli
Penne a la Vodka is made with a creamy tomato sauce served with tender penne pasta. To add some flavor and protein, this version includes white beans and is served with roasted broccoli on the side.
Smarts: The vodka in the sauce helps it to become creamy, but it cooks down for a long time to remove most of the alcohol - you likely won't notice it in the finished dish. But if you'd prefer not to use vodka, stock or even water work just fine.
- Pasta, penne - 12 oz (sub any other short tube shape)
- Onions, medium - 1/2 , diced
- Garlic - 3 cloves , chopped
- Tomatoes, whole peeled (28 oz / 795 g) - 1 can
- Beans, any white (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can , drained and rinsed
- Butter - 2 Tbsp
- Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
- Oregano, dried - 1 tsp
- Basil, dried - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
- Vodka - 1/2 cup (sub any stock)
- Sugar - 1/4 tsp
- Heavy cream - 1/4 cup
- Cheese, grated parmesan - for serving
- Broccoli - 1 lb , florets
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, balsamic - 2 tsp
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Pasta - Cook pasta according to package directions. If making ahead, toss with some oil to minimize sticking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Tomatoes - Drain the tomatoes. Reserve the liquids in one bowl and the solid tomatoes in another.
Beans - Drain and rinse.
Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
Toss broccoli with olive oil (portion for broccoli), balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking.
While broccoli roasts, heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan with butter and olive oil (portion for pasta) over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and red pepper flakes and saute until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
Use your hands to break apart the whole tomatoes as you add them to the onions and garlic. (Reserve the tomato liquid to add later.)
Remove pan from heat (this is especially important if you are cooking over an open flame where the vodka could spill and cause a fire), pour vodka into the pan, and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes to reduce the alcohol, continuing to stir the tomatoes to break them apart as they cook.
Pour liquids from peeled tomatoes and sugar into sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is rich and creamy, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir beans into sauce until heated through.
Remove pan from heat and stir in heavy cream and cooked pasta.
Squeeze lemon juice over broccoli.
Serve pasta with parmesan cheese on top and roasted broccoli on the side. Enjoy!