Penne Alla Vodka


Today was Kylie’s first day of college. Dennis and I feel so lucky that she has decided to attend college in San Diego and to live at home. Kylie is attending Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM). She really wanted to stay home and commute and we couldn’t be happier.


I was so excited to put out my new CSUSM garden flag yesterday so we’d be ready to start the new school year with Cougar school spirit and Cougar pride. We are so proud of Kylie. Dennis looked at me this morning and said “Can you believe our daughter is starting college?” It seems she was just in kindergarten and I wish she was. We are very happy for her new chapter, however. There is so much life to live and we hope she lives her life to the fullest and accomplishes everything she wants to, having much fun along the way.

I asked Kylie what she’d like for dinner on the first night of school. She didn’t take any time to answer when she replied with “Penne Alla Vodka!” Kylie is not a huge lover of pasta so anytime she requests pasta for dinner, I’m more than happy to oblige. I love pasta, and could eat noodles every day.

I started my sauce by melting a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. While they were melting, I minced two large shallots and three cloves of garlic. I cooked the shallots for two minutes before adding the garlic. One I added the garlic, I poured a 28 ounce can of crushed (no salt added) plum tomatoes into my sauté pan. Once the tomatoes were in the pan, I added kosher salt, dried basil, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.


I let the tomatoes simmer for about 10 minutes before adding 1/2 cup of vodka and 1 cup of heavy cream.


I let the vodka and cream simmer for 15 minutes before adding one cup of grated parmesan.

While the sauce was simmering with the vodka and cream, I cooked my penne pasta. One I added the grated parmesan and stirred everything together, I then incorporated the cooked noodles into the sauce, stirring them to mix together with the sauce.

I loved that this sauce was a bit chunky with the tomatoes and shallots, not too chunky, just right.

Here’s a picture of Kylie enjoying her Penne Alla Vodka. I’d say it was a hit, she loved it.



  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can (no salt added) plum crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving


  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan.
  2. Add minced shallots to pan and cook for two minutes.
  3. Add minced garlic, cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour tomatoes into pan, also adding salt, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
  5. Stir together and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add vodka and cream to tomato mixture and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Cook pasta.
  8. Add grated parmesan to sauce and mix together.
  9. Add cook noodles to sauce and stir.
  10. Sprinkle with extra parmesan for serving.


My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We’ve been watching the news closely and everyone is in our thoughts and prayers. My brother-in-law, David, his wife, Donna and their three children live in Houston. Donna’s parents and brother also live in Houston. I’m happy to report they are safe and doing well. Please say a little prayer for our family and their friends who live in Houston.

Until next time, Kris



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Debby says:

    So hard to believe you guys have a college-age daughter – you look too young! Congratulations, Kylie, on your first day of college!! 🙂 Kris, this recipe sounds so delicious that I’m going to have to make it soon. Taylor and I eat a lot of meatless dishes so I’m glad you have a meatless Monday theme. Thankful that your family members in Houston are safe and am sending up prayers for all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. FYI The Red Cross has a wish list on Amazon of things you can purchase that they’ll ship directly to the Red Cross in Texas. 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, Debby! It seems like yesterday, we were planning on putting Elmo in the nursery window so you guys would know we’d left for the hospital to have Kylie. Now, she’s off to college! Thank you for letting me know about the Red Cross and Amazon! That’s fantastic! Let me know how you and Taylor like this dish when you make it. 😊. I need to email some pics to you!


  2. No wonder your daughter wants to live at home. Your food looks delicious! I’m sure it’s more than the amazing food. Speaks well of you as parents. Praying for your family and others in Houston.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much! We are so thrilled to have her here at home with us for a while longer. Thank you for the prayers for our family. We’ve been texting daily and today they said the sun is shining. Great news!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay! God is so good!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, for sure 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

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