Penne alla Vodka Recipe

This quick and easy penne alla vodka recipe is a great way to impress your friends, family, or guests! | themillennialmenu.com

I took one bite of this and knew I had to get my camera out and get this creamy, cheese, slightly salty Penne alla Vodka recipe up on the blog ASAP. I’ve been making penne alla vodka for years, and I can’t figure out why I haven’t gotten this recipe up on the blog sooner. Look at it!

There are so many reasons to love it! First, it’s pasta. Everyone loves a good pasta dish, especially one that is creamy and cheesy. Second, there is VODKA in it. Pasta with vodka, those are like, two of my favorite things. Third, it is truly easy to make. While the steps might look intimidating and you do have to use multiple pans, you have to heat some of the things up, throw them in a pot with some of the things, and then add it all together with pasta and cheese on top. Read through the whole recipe once and you’ll see that it’s really just adding some pasta to an easy-to-make sauce…ready in 30 minutes! Lastly, this is a great skill/effort-to-impressiveness ratio dish. You don’t need to be super sophisticated to make it, and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it definitely is a show-stopper. If you’re trying to impress someone, whether it be your Bumble date or your parents, this is a great go-to dish to have in your back pocket. Goes great with a simple salad!

If I were you, I would double the sauce recipe so you can freeze some for later. I did that and now I have extra sauce in the freezer to defrost later - all I need to keep on hand is pasta & parmesan cheese in the fridge, two things that I always have on hand (because duh). Thinking ahead and having easy AND delicious meals at home will save you a ton of impulse-buy money if you’re tempted by takeout or delivery. I store mine in sandwich bags and freeze them laying down, then I’ll stand them up later for easy storage in the freezer! Mine are in 2-serving portions.

In other news, it’s almost MARCH! How? Who would have thought that in my second year of teaching it would be even harder to keep up with the blog? I posted more regularly my first year out of college when I was working in a school 50 hours a week and attending grad school on nights and all day on Saturdays…how?!? I guess when I was constantly go-go-go all the time, it was easy to just keep checking things off my list and writing a blog post just got done as I rushed to get to the bottom of my list - which never happened. In my second year as a full time teacher and third year out of college, I’m finding I’m getting better at getting to the bottom of my to do lists, and when I do that, all I want to do is chill out on the couch with a cocktail, go for a run (I’ve taken up running, which if you knew me anytime before age 25, is hard to believe), or plan my next vacation (headed to Germany in April to visit my younger brother studying abroad! Stay tuned for my favorite places from that trip). I’ve said this a million times now, but I want to be on the blog more. I’ve really found my own rhythm of what works for us with cooking for ourselves, and I want to keep trying my best to bring that to more people! In the meantime, sit down with your heaping bowl of penne alla vodka and a nice glass of red wine (or…any cocktail with some of that Tito’s vodka!) and if you’ve got a moment, tell me what you’d like to see more of on the blog, I’d love to hear from you!



Penne alla Vodka Recipe

Makes 4 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Vodka: check out my Bar Basics post // Penne + heavy cream: Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Splash of oil oil

  • 1/2 of a standard 16 oz. box of penne pasta (or what looks like 4 servings. what even are pasta serving sizes?)

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup vodka - Remember you can check out the grocery guide for more info if you’ve got questions!

  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto - or a few slices. whatever works!

  • 1 - 15 oz. CAN of plain tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, shredded

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Optional: Parsley, for topping




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free Friendly:
Use your favorite gluten-free pasta
Not dairy-free, vegan, or vegetarian friendly

Directions

GET THE ONIONS GOING

1. Get a large pot of boiling water (with a pinch of salt) started for your pasta.
2.
Get out a large saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Add a splash of olive oil to heat up, while you dice 1/2 yellow onion and then add it to the pan.
3. While the onion is sautéeing, dice 1/4 lb. proscuitto. The easiest way to do this is to actually use kitchen scissors and cut the proscuitto into pieces! They’re on my kitchen essentials list.
4. Heat a separate sauté pan on medium heat and add the proscuitto you just diced up. No oil is needed! Continue to sauté the proscuitto as it gets crispier and crispier.
5. Add 1/4 cup vodka to your onion saucepan. Let the alcohol burn off for 2-4 minutes. Pro tip: do not smell the sauce at this point. 100% alcohol fumes is painful.

(MULTI-TASK TIME - get the pasta going!)
6. By now your pasta water should be boiling, add 1/2 box penne pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until desired doneness.

FINISH THE MEAL
7 Once the vodka has evaporated a bit (about 2-4 minutes), add the crispy prosciuitto, 15 oz. can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup heavy cream.
8.
Let the sauce simmer on a lower heat setting while you check the pasta, drain it, and grate some parmigiano reggiano cheese.
9. Add the 1/2 the parmigiano reggiano cheese to the sauce, save the rest for topping your pasta!
10. Once you’ve grated your cheese and finished and drained the pasta, taste the sauce and add any salt & pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt because the proscuitto is salty already!
11. Add everything together - I like to toss all my pasta in the sauce and then get it into my bowl to top with some more fresh cracked pepper, fresh chopped parsley, and a generous heap of parmigiano cheese.

Yum.

This quick and easy penne alla vodka recipe is a great way to impress your friends, family, or guests! | themillennialmenu.com

Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

LUNCH TOMORROW - Almost all pasta recipes taste better the next day, but there’s something about penne alla vodka that’s extra special. I think it’s time for the vodka to soak into the sauce and pasta and for everything to really meld together. This is a super yummy and indulgent lunch to enjoy at work the next day!

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Use up the rest your pasta in one of your favorite pasta recipes, like my pasta & meatballs recipe - or use up your heavy cream while you’re at it in the Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes. Save the half of an onion for any one of my other recipes - maybe my easy Chicken Pot Pie to keep you warm this winter? and in case you need it, my favorite vodka drink is a Moscow Mule!


Twenty Minute Chicken Sausage Tortellini Skillet Recipe

This Chicken Sausage Tortellini Skillet is about to be your go-to 20 minute meal. | themillennialmenu.com

This recipe is my go-to twenty minute meal. We often eat it for weekend lunches because it's easy to make just 2 servings, doesn't require a lot of effort, tastes great, and keeps us full. It's also one of those recipes where it might be impossible to mess up: the chicken sausage is already cooked (thank you Al Fresco) and the biggest culinary feat is cooking up some pasta. The chicken sausage is already cooked (hallelujah!). It really takes just twenty minutes - boil the water for the pasta first, chop some things up, and heat things. That's it.

What I love about this recipe is it's so basic - you can add in substitutions for virtually everything based on what you like or what you have on hand. The basic formula is pasta + cheese + greens + chicken sausage. My favorite variation is roasted garlic chicken sausage, swiss chard, cheese tortellini, and asiago, but you can really take this in any direction. I saw pesto tortellini at Trader Joe's this weekend, and I can imagine that would be delicious with sundried tomato chicken sausage, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Whatever type of pasta, greens, or flavor chicken sausage you choose, the flavors will be brought together with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

variation suggestions


Chicken Sausage Skillet Recipe

Makes 4 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Tortellini: Tortellini Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken sausage (see Grocery Guide for more info)
  • 2-4 cups of greens (like spinach, swiss chard, or kale)
  • 1 package tortellini (or any other pasta you like, such as ravioli)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • Shredded asiago or parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free: Choose a gluten free pasta, whether it's tortellini, ravioli, or something elese
Dairy-free: Substitute dairy-free milk or omit the milk.
Vegetarian Friendly: Leave out the chicken sausage or add meatless sausage or tofu
Vegan-Friendly Follow dairy-free and vegetarian recommendations, plus leave off the butter and use olive oil.

Directions

BOIL & CHOP
1. Boil a pot of water and add 1 package of tortellini, cook 6-8 minutes until desired doneness.
2. Chop up 2-4 cups of greens (depending on how many vegetables you want in there) and slice up the chicken sausage.

MAKE THE SKILLET
3. Add 1 tablespoon butter to a sauce pan and add the slices of chicken sausage, stirring until both sides of the chicken sausage are browned slightly.
4. Add the 2-4 cups of greens to the chicken sausage, stirring to soften.
5. Once the tortellini is done, drain the pot and add the pasta back into the pot. Add the veggies and chicken sausage into the pasta pot and stir to combine.
6. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 2-4 tablespoons milk, depending on how saucy you want your dish to be. 
7. Toss in the shredded cheese, stir, and enjoy.

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for about 3 days, or until the greens start getting funky.

LUNCH TOMORROW - We eat some version of this recipe all the time for weekend lunches. It's easy to make enough for just 2 servings, doesn't require a lot of effort, and still tastes good and keeps us full. So - I can confirm it's a great lunch, and easy to bring along to work. I've also brought it in a thermos and it's stayed hot

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - This recipe does a pretty good job of using up a whole package of chicken sausage and a whole package of tortellini. If you only make a half batch, you can freeze both the tortellini and chicken sausage for use to make the same recipe another day. I hope you don't have too much trouble using up the extra cheese, but if you do, use up the rest of some asiago cheese in my Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes.


Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe

Easy Shrimp Scampi is ready in 20 minutes! the perfect weeknight dinner. | themillennialmenu.com

This recipe for Easy Shrimp Scampi is one of my go-to weeknight meals. It's filling but still feels light and healthy, and...it's delicious. Lemon, butter, garlic, parsley all meld together to coat the shrimp and pasta so that each bite is full of flavor. It only takes about 20 minutes to come together, meaning you can have a delicious homemade dinner on the table fast right after you walk in the door. 

One of my favorite things about this recipe is it's a Millennial Staple Meal. That means you can keep every single one of these ingredients in your freezer, pantry, or fridge and they won't go bad before you use them. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp stocked away in my freezer. One thing that makes this so convenient is even if you forget to defrost the shrimp ahead of time, it takes all of 5 minutes under cold running water in a strainer to defrost them. I've always got a box of pasta and a head of garlic in my pantry - those are absolute staples for so many meals. Lemons and butter are staples in my fridge. Lastly, I always have a tube of parsley paste on hand. Parsley paste may sound weird, but it's the easiest way to add flavor to your dishes without having to buy a huge bunch of fresh herbs that will go bad before you can use them all. Find out more about why pastes are the secret to cooking with herbs and spices. I made this recipe probably twice a week in college. Partially because it's so delicious but also partially because it was just so easy to pull together. 

Another perk of this recipe is you can't really mess it up - as long as your shrimp are cooked, you're good. The entire ratio of the recipe is flexible and to taste. I start with the butter and garlic to cook the shrimp in, then add lemon juice and parsley. If anything is too strong or too weak, it's safe to add more salt, pepper, and parsley, and then a drizzle of olive oil until the flavors are just right. 20 minutes, all the ingredients you need in your place, and a recipe you can't mess up...this recipe for Easy Shrimp Scampi needs to be added to your weekly dinner rotation!



Shrimp Scampi

Makes 2 servings
Other Recipes With These Ingredients: Shrimp: Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce // Parsley: Middle Eastern Grain Bowl
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10-15 jumbo shrimp
  • 1/2 box long, skinny pasta (like spaghetti or linguine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley paste or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Olive oil, salt, & pepper to taste




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free: Choose a gulten-free pasta. Dairy Free
Pescetarian Friendly
Not Vegetarian or Vegan Friendly

Directions:

BEFORE YOU START: GET THE PASTA GOING
1. Boil a pot of salted water for pasta.
2. Add ~1/2 box of pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

MAKE THE SHRIMP
3. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.
4. Once the butter melts, add 2 cloves garlic, minced (use a garlic press!)
5. Add your shrimp. Flip when shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes.
6. Salt & pepper your shrimp, to taste.
7. After about 2-3 minutes, flip your shrimp over. Continue cooking until shrimp are entirely white/pink and opaque.
8. Add 1 tablespoon parsley paste (or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley) and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and stir to coat the shrimp evenly. 
9. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to thin the sauce, if desired.
9. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the saucepan. Toss to combine.

Yum.


Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - Like almost all pasta dishes, this recipe tastes just as good if not better one day later, once the sauce has had a chance to soak into the pasta and the flavors really fuse together. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop for a filling but still light lunch.

STORING - Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 2-3 days.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - If you have extra shrimp, check out my Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce. Looking to use up the rest of your parsley? Try my Middle Eastern Grain Bowl or head over to my secret about cooking with herbs & spices post. Use up any lemon in a nice homemade cocktail.

Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe

Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes is on the table in 30 minutes or less. Add chicken or make it vegetarian friendly. Delicious, simple, and so good! | themillennialmenu.com

This recipe for Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes is the epitome of comfort food: pasta smothered in a cheesy sauce tossed with chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. It's the perfect meal for making in one big batch and enjoying throughout the week, whether you have leftovers for dinner or bring some every day for lunch this week. I've been known to purposefully make this dish ahead of time and wait a day to eat it because it actually tastes that much better. The cheese coats every noodle, the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic infuse into the creamy sauce. The pasta soaks everything up and tastes even more flavorful.  Plus, it makes this recipe perfect for easy meal prep on the weekends with a stress-free homemade meal ready to go for the week.

This creamy, cheesy dinner is on the table in 30 minutes. That's thanks to the wonders of rotisserie chickens, which you can usually grab warm from the grocery store for around $5. No waiting for chicken to cook or worrying if it's done! I love rotisserie chickens so much I came up with 7 Reasons You Should Always Have a Rotisserie Chicken In Your Fridge. While you're boiling pasta, you pull the sauce together in minutes. Once your pasta is ready, everything goes into a big pot, you stir it up, and you're good to go. You can even lighten it up by using half and half or light cream instead of heavy cream, if you're into that kind of thing. I'm a heavy cream girl myself.

Any kind of pasta works for this recipe, but short, hollow noodles that the sauce can hide in are the best for maximizing flavor-per-bite. The oil that the jarred sun-dried tomatoes come in is a quick shortcut to creating a flavorful sauce because you can sauté the garlic in this oil and mix everything together to incorporate the deep, sweet flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes in with the melted asiago and cream. Whether you make a batch ahead of time for the week (let the sauce soak in!) or are looking for an easy weeknight meal (enjoy chicken without having to cook it yourself!) this Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes needs to be on your dinner menu this week.



Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Makes 4-5 servings
Other Recipes With These Ingredients: Spinach: Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushrooms // Rotisserie chicken: check out The Millennial Menu Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
Prep Time: 20 minutes (mostly cooking a box of pasta)
Cook Time: 10 minutes*
Total Time: 30 minutes
*add 20 minutes cooking time if starting with raw chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 box penne pasta (any shape will do, hollow pasta tastes best with this sauce)
  • 1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil (Trader Joe's brand rocks!)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked chicken breasts)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free: Substitute any gluten-free pasta
Vegetarian: Leave out the chicken.
This recipe is not vegan or dairy-free friendly.

Directions:

COOK THE PASTA & PREP THE SAUCE
1. Boil water for pasta. Cook box of pasta until soft, 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, set aside.
2. While the pasta is boiling, add the entire jar of sun-dried tomatoes and 3 cloves minced garlic to a large sauce pan. Sauté for 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. 
3. Add 1 cup heavy cream. Stir.
4. Add 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese. Stir to melt it in.

ADD EVERYTHING TOGETHER

5. Once your pasta is done, turn the sauce burner to low. Add the box of cooked pasta, 2 cups shredded chicken, and 1 bag of spinach to the pot. Stir so that everything is coated in the sauce and the spinach wilts. 

Yum.


Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - This recipe tastes so much better the next day. The flavors have time to meld together, the sauce soaks into the pasta, and everything is covered in melty Asiago goodness. This pasta skillet is meant to be made in a big batch and is perfect for bringing for lunch every day this week! 

STORING - Store for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. 

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Extra heavy cream should only be used to make homemade whipped cream (you can use your blender!) and enjoyed on an ice cream sundae, on top of fresh berries, or simply by the spoonful. It's a rule. If you don't add the extra asiago cheese to the top of your pasta (because why not), save it in your cheese drawer in the fridge for up to 4 months. It adds cheesy goodness to almost any pasta dish, especially mac & cheese. If you have extra chicken, check out some of my Rotisserie Chicken Recipes like Chickpea Chicken Curry. Otherwise, this recipe uses up all of the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, so it's ingredient (and wallet) efficient.


This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Julia's Album's Asiago Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach.

Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushrooms Recipe

Easy Tortellini Soup with Mushrooms and SPinach will warm you right up on a chilly night! | themillennialmenu.com

It's getting chillier and chillier here in Boston, and that means it's the perfect time for my Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushrooms recipe. The secret ingredient in this recipe is cream cheese. Call me crazy, but it adds a tangy depth of flavor and creaminess in a short amount of time - you'll love it.

You need only 6 simple ingredients for this recipe: tortellini, tomato sauce, chicken broth, cream cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. This recipe is perfect for making a big batch at the beginning of the week and enjoying throughout. You can even think about mixing it up with different kinds of tortellini - a porcini mushroom tortellini would complement the mushrooms in the broth, or even a pesto tortellini for an added punch of flavor!



Tortellini Soup with Spinach & Mushrooms Recipe

Makes 1 serving
Other Recipes With These Ingredients: Tortellini: Butternut Squash & Sage Tortellini
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
 

Ingredients

  • 1 package tortellini
  • 1 large can (28-32oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 8-oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 package white mushrooms, sliced 




Dietary Substitutions:
Dairy Free: You could make this without dairy but it just won't be as creamy - or check out some lactose free cream cheese options. Choose a different pasta that's not tortellini to cut out the cheese
Gluten Free: Try a gluten-free tortellini or any other gluten-free pasta
Vegetarian Friendly
Vegan-Friendly: Follow the dairy free options and use vegetable broth!

 

Directions

1. Boil water for tortellini and cook your one package of tortellini.
2. Meanwhile, heat up 1 large can of tomato sauce and 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth in a pot. Add 1 - 8oz. package of cream cheese, stirring constantly until it melts in. You can add more chicken or vegetable broth if you'd like a thinner broth.
3. Once the cream cheese has melted, let the broth cool a bit and blend the broth in a blender to smooth it out.
4. Now you need to add your one package of sliced white mushrooms. There are two ways to do this: 1) Just add them right in!  
4. Right at the end, stir in the bag of spinach and let it wilt. Then, spoon into bowls and enjoy!

Yum.


Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - This soup almost tastes better the next day, once everything has soaked in! 

STORING - Store for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Try out my recipe for Butternut Squash & Sage Tortellini with any extra tortellini you have on hand. Make a healthy salad for lunch with extra spinach. Extra tomato sauce can be frozen for almost any recipe in the future - just freeze it in a freezer safe ziplock bag! If you have extra cream cheese, this pepper relish dip is a childhood favorite of mine!