Penne Ala Vodka Recipe #PublixFlavorExcursion #giveaway

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
I was 23 years old when I got my first apartment without a roommate. While this was a LONG time ago, I remember everything like it were yesterday. My friend Darlynn lived in a historical building which was once a nun-convent, turned into unique apartments which everyone called Melrose Place. When the unit that shared a porch with hers became available, I jumped on it, signed the lease and became a big girl.

I loved everything about that place - we were in walking distance to the bars, could literally scream out the window to "lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor" and had some of the best homemade meals two twenty-something single girls could ever dream of. Darlynn and I both come from families who cooked frequently and let us help in the kitchen. She taught me how to cook Italian and I taught her how to cook everything else (kidding.....I know she is reading this).
The first time she wanted to make me her signature pasta, Penne Ala Vodka, I said no - I "hated tomatoes". After multiple times trying to coerce me, I finally caved in. That was the night I realized my love for Italian food and red sauce. This dish quickly became our Sunday night ritual, with a bottle of red wine while watching Sex and the City and comparing Carrie Bradshaw's life to our own. Fast forward to many years later, this is still my comfort pasta dish of choice which nearly every friend and family member of mine has added to their recipe book.

Darlynn's Penne ala Vodka recipe was handed down by her father. It's super easy and always delicious. I've made tweaks on the recipe to make it my own over the years but there is one rule - if using canned tomatoes, you can only use Hunts. If you use another brand, the flavor will not be the same. I recently learned that Hunts Tomatoes go from the field to the can, where they are FlashSteam with only water in the matter of hours.

Penne ala Vodka
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans of Hunt's Tomatoes, drained well
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (I use Kraft) + more for serving
1/4 Cup Vodka
1 tablespoon Hunts Tomato paste as needed
Pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes to taste
Fresh Basil
Penne Pasta

  1. In a sauce pan, heat your olive oil and add the diced onions and sautee until translucent (about 5-8 minutes), be sure not to burn them.
  2. While your onions are cooking, drain your tomatoes - using a can opener, keep the lid and push down on the contents, removing as much liquid as possible. When your onions are translucent, add your tomatoes. 
  3. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes
  4. Add heavy whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, vodka, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently so the cheese does not burn. 
  5. Serve over Penne Pasta, or your favorite pasta noodle. Top with fresh basil.
Aside from how delicious this simple meal is, it is very cheap. You can buy all of the ingredients for less than $10 to feed a family of 4. I am giving away $10 to one reader to make this meal for themselves (or anything else they want to make). Visit Hunts TomatoesKraft & Publix Flavor ExcursionLet me know in the comments below what you would cook if you won the $10 Paypal giveaway. Be sure to log your entry in through the rafflecopter widget to unlock more chances to win!

Click here to get inspiration and money saving coupons at Publix for your Flavor Excursion!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I would make grilled chicken taco boats

  2. I would make the Hunt's tomato and bacon tortellini

  3. I'd love to make some yummy Speedy Salsa-Chicken Quesadillas!!

  4. One recipe that I saw on Hunt's website was the Taco Pizza. Oh, it looks so good, too!!!

  5. Cheddar Mac and ham I would love to make for sure - shaunie

  6. I would make the Hunt's Quick Mini Meatloaves
    Leidy R rafflecopter

  7. I would make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos.

  8. I will make Grilled Franks with Mango Salsa from Hunt's recipe collections.

  9. I would make the Hunt's Mini Meatloves

  10. I would make cheesy, tomato pasta with onions and spinach.

  11. I really like the English Muffin Pizzas on the Hunt's site.

  12. I'd make the Cheesy Beef Enchiladas on Kraft's site.


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