Sunday, April 21, 2013

Penne Ala Vodka Recipe for #SundaySupper Showers

I was so excited for this weeks #SundaySupper hosted by Brandie at Home Cooking Memories. For once, I didn't have a second thought as what I would cook for this weeks event. Today, I dedicate this post to one of my best friends, Darlynn, who is getting married in less than 4 weeks!!
Darlynn's Bridal Shower 3/2013
Long story short - I met Darlynn in 2001. I was her banker, she was a local famous radio personality. After seeing her credit cards, knowing we had duplicate debt in our 20's, I knew we would be instant friends. Fast Forward to 2013, we are a few weeks away to her dream wedding. She is marrying her childhood friend Steve, who I refer to as my brother. I cannot wait for this big day!!

When it came time to plan her bridal shower, I knew instantly what I was going to make for her special day. Not only did I want this to be perfect for her, favorite foods had to be involved. I had to show respect to Penne Ala Vodka. This was the dish she cooked me for the first time when we were flat mates. The dish she made for my family when my father passed away. The same dish we made when we were crying over boyfriends, cheering over new crushes or most importantly, celebrating life.


Over time, I have made a few personal touches on this recipe but it will always belong to Dalrynn. I truly believe, if she didn't force me into eating this while watching Sex in the City circa 2002, I would probably still think I hated tomatoes.  I made this recipe for Darlynn's bridal shower for 40 people a month ago. When the sauce is cooked the night before, it makes for easy travel and you can even create a DIY pasta bar!

Penne Ala Vodka Recipe
modified from Darlynn Nangano

For a family of four:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
Crushed red pepepr to taste
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Vodka - Have fun with the flavors of vodka, you can use basil, tomato, or peppar flavored vodka
1/2 cup Parmesan (freshly shredded) cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh Basil for garnish

Add the diced onion to the olive oil and sautee for 5 minutes or until oniPons are translucent.
Add crushed red pepper to taste
While the onions are cooking, drain the juice from the diced tomato cans. This is probably the most important step of this recipe. You have to make sure the juice from the can is not existent when adding to the pot.
Simmer the tomatoes in the onion mix for 30 minutes. If you are using a potato masher, "moosh" the mixture while cooking. If using a hand blender, mix halfway through the 30 minutes.
Add the next three ingredients, stir frequently, 30 minutes on low heat. "Moosh" the sauce if using a potato masher. if using the hand mixer, blend when the 30 minutes is complete. Make sure you keep eye on the sauce as the cheese can burn.

Serve over penne pasta, top with fresh basil, crushed red pepper and freshly grated parm cheese. Next week, I will not be taking part in #SundaySupper as I will be in Savannah celebrating Darlynn at her "bacherlorette party" - that makes me feel too young saying that!

Let's check out the rest of the #SundaySupper recipes for showers celebrating those we love.
Starters, Appetizers & Snacks
Soups, Salads & Sandwiches
Main Dishes
Cookies, Brownies & Dessert Bars
Sweet Treats
Drink Recipes
Want even more #SundaySupper? Follow our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for recipes that are sure to impress!


  1. Oh!! Best post ever! Hope everyone loves our cherished recipe, it has been made over so many happy, sad,tired and special occasions for us! Xx

  2. We love this dish, too...I've made it for my daughter's friends for a birthday party and they all loved it. Love the idea of using flavored vodkas :)

    1. Love it Liz :) It is one of my favorites. To date, my favorite flavored vodka to use with this dish is tomato flavor - 3 Olives makes it but very hard to find. Bloody Mary flavored vodka is also a fun one!

  3. Congrats to your friend! What a great idea to make a pasta bar and your recipe sounds awesome!

  4. Congrats to your friend. And thanks to you for sharing one of my favorite recipes!

    1. Thanks Jen!!!! This is my ultimate comfort food :)

  5. What a fun post... and great idea on having a pasta bar! Too funny on SATC... loved that show, too! ;-)

    1. Thanks Di! So much fun w/ the pasta bar at showers. I miss my Sunday SATC funday's!

  6. Congratulations to Darlynn - you all enjoy the party!!!

    This sounds like an amazing dish anytime. Thank you for sharing! ~ Bea

  7. Oh so yummy looking!!! And congrats to your friend!! How exciting!!

  8. What a great story! I actually have enjoyed a penne alla vodka at a baby shower and it was the perfect dish for a girl's night!

    1. Thanks Courtney! This was truly our girls night dish when I lived in Daytona!

  9. Your Penne Pasta looks and sounds fabulous, Megan. Love the history behind this BFF dish, too =)

  10. What a sweet story behind this dish - I don't make/order vodka sauce on my pasta dishes very often, but it can be SO tasty!!! A few weeks back, I made some penne ala vodka with blackened good!

  11. Love, love, love vodka sauce. It is the only sauce that I will welcome right out of the jar (but I imagine yours is worlds better). I will definitely try your version. The best vodka sauce I've ever had came from The Laughing Cat.

  12. What a special dish because of all the memories it holds between you and your friend. What a great thing to make for any crowd whether it be for a shower, party, or other.

  13. Haha, it's amazing how cream and vodka can make a tomato lover out of almost anyone :) This looks so great.

  14. This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. I love that you suggested using flavored vodkas. I wouldn't have thought of that but what a fun idea!

  15. I love vodka sauce and I just love that this sauce was what introduced you to a love for tomatoes. :) I have never tried using flavoured vodkas, sounds very interesting.

  16. What a great story and a pasta bar sounds like so much fun!

  17. Its great that you dedicated this for your friend. Its really nice recipe for vodka lovers. Thanks for Sharing it.

  18. I loved reading about your special relationship with your best friend in this post! And what a wonderful association you have with this delicious pasta dish. I love penne ala vodka. I'm sure Dalrynn totally appreciated having it at her shower. As for the bachelorette - woowoo! Have tons of fun, ladies!