Sausage Penne a la Vodka

pasta1

Hey there! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you, sausage penne a la vodka! First things first… this technically is not a vodka sauce. And I know that. A traditional vodka sauces contain vodka (obviously) and usually a lot of cheese. But this is my Grandma’s “vodka sauce recipe, so I’ve always just called it that. Plus, “sausage penne a la vodka” has a better ring to it than “sausage penne a la tomato cream sauce.”

This is what I served as the main course of my Valentine’s Day dinner (the first course was a yummy mozzarella fondue), and per usual, it was a hit. Though I grew up typically eating marinara or meat sauces, this is easily my favorite now. I love the flavor that the sausage gives it, and it’s gorgeous when served with shaved parmesan and shredded basil. Also, I typically lean towards a turkey or chicken italian sausage, as it has a similar flavor with less fat/calories.

Sausage Penne a la Vodka (or tomato cream sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. italian sausage (if you purchase sausage links, make sure to remove the casings.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1, 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (with added puree)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Italian seasoning blend, salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1 lb. penne pasta (or any other kind you would like)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or shredded
  • Freshly shaved parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add sausage and red pepper flakes. Sauté sausage for about five minutes (until no longer pink), breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender and the sausage is browned, about three to five minutes longer.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and cream. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about three minutes.
  • Season the sauce with salt, pepper and/or italian seasoning to taste! I typically use at least a teaspoon or two of the Italian seasoning.
  • While you are making your sauce, cook your pasta (I usually start cooking the pasta about five minutes after I’ve started the sauce).
  • After your pasta is cooked and drained, toss with the sauce.
  • Garnish with basil and shaved parmesan. I use a vegetable peeler to shave the parm and it works wonders!

There you have it! This dish is guaranteed to please and impress, and the fact that it is super easy to throw together is a bonus! I hope you try and love it! Xo,

Lauren

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Be Mine

For the long weekend, I decided that I would go home in order to spend Valentine’s Day/the long weekend with my family. This year my valentine was this adorable pup, and really I can’t complain!

Lexi

My parents are pretty low-key in terms of Valentine’s Day, but since I was home I  wanted to do something special for them. So I decided to cook them (what I thought was) a romantic dinner! Mind you, they had to deal with my company, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t mind. I’m kicking myself for not taking more pictures of it, but I was pretty proud of how it all turned out! I even printed out little menus (I got this template from pinterest), which made it feel a little more special than a typical dinner.

Though I probably should have posted this before Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d still go ahead and share the menu of what I made/served for each course.  I will be posting my recipes for a couple of  them later this week as well! Hopefully it will give you ideas if you’re cooking a romantic dinner for someone special (or even just your parents).

menu

Course one: Smoked Mozzarella fondue! I found a couple variations of this recipe online, but I’ll post my spin on it this week! To go with it I roasted some garlic in the oven and made homemade baguettes. Both were so delicious!

Course two: Classic caesar salad, with diced bacon and parmesan crisps. I make a homemade caesar dressing, but store bought would be just as good!

Course three: Sausage Penne a la Vodka Sauce. I will also post this recipe later this week!

Course four: Skillet cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. I found this recipe through Pinterest about two years ago, and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Recipe courtesy of the Willow Bird Baking blog.

So that is how I spent my Valentine’s Day! Feel free to share how you spent yours!

Xo,

Lauren