Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

First off, let me clear something up…”spicy” doesn’t mean a lot in the title of this pasta.  There is a LOT of flexibility to make this dish as hot or as mild as you and your family like so even if you don’t dig spicy, read on!

This dish falls into my husband’s top 5 dishes I cook (“maybe top 3!” he is calling over my shoulder as I write this.)  It’s definitely in our regular rotation but if it were up to Hubby, we’d have it waaaaay more often than I make it.  Besides being super flavorful, I love it for it’s ability to be thrown together so quickly and easily.  This makes for a great, quick weeknight meal, there’s always plenty of leftovers (when you have a family of 3…this recipe feeds us for at least 2 meals and usually still has enough left for one of us to have it for lunch the following day,) and, as I said, it’s easy to customize it to your family’s preferred spice level.

Not into tomato-based pastas? (wink, wink…I’m listening Facebook friends!)  Be on the lookout for a bonus recipe post later this week with another of our family’s favorite weeknight pasta dishes with NO tomatoes!

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

2 Tbls extra vigin olive oil

1 lb. sausage (mild Italian, salsiccia, hot italian…whatever you like! We like salsiccia at our house.)

1 tsp. minced garlic

crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (Just a little shake for some flavor or pour it on if you’re lookin’ to sweat!)

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy whipping cream

2 Tbls. vodka

12-16 oz. penne pasta (I like mine extra saucy so I only use 12 but there is plenty of sauce to use 16 oz. if you’re feeding a crowd.)

Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat and brown sausage.  Drain grease and add minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for a minute or two more.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

Add crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.  Cover with splatter guard or lid and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Pasta

While the tomatoes and sausage simmer, boil a pot of water and cook pasta to al dente.  After 15 minutes of simmering, add cream and vodka to sauce.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

Stir well and allow to simmer for just a few minutes to thicken a bit.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

Drain pasta and add to sauce.  If sauce is too runny, allow to simmer for a minute or so, then remove from heat to sit and thicken for another couple minutes.  Now we’re ready for the party in our tummies…yes, I went there.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

I usually serve with a nice hunk of a baguette and a crisp salad but this time I opted for steamed broccoli instead of the salad.  And then I went back for seconds on the pasta…and had it for lunch the next day.  This is seriously so good.

Pasta with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

Buddy and Hubby finished off the leftovers while I was out of town this weekend.  I feel cheated.  I want more.  Guess I’ll have to make it again soon!

What quick and easy meals top your weeknight menu plan?

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