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Vegan Penne Alla Vodka

This Vegan Penne Alla Vodka is an easy weeknight meal to prepare and will quickly become a family favorite. It's rich, creamy and so satisfying! 
Course Dinner, Entree
Cuisine Italian, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 593kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water + more for soaking
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan butter (or blend of both)
  • 1 medium shallot , minced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup vodka (nice quality)
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes , fire-roasted (sub regular)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth , low sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt , more to taste (more for pasta water)
  • Fresh cracked pepper , to taste

For Serving

Instructions

  • To prep the cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews and discard soaking water. Place them in a blender with 3/4 cup of water. Blend on high until very smooth.
  • Heat up a large pan or pot over medium heat. When heated, add the olive oil. Once it shimmers, add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
  • Now add the crushed red pepper and oregano. Sauté 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
  • *Use caution near open flame* Add vodka and cook until it's reduced by half. About 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat slightly and gently simmer for 12-15 minutes until liquid reduces and sauce thickens. Stir often.
  • While the sauce is cooking, place pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente (usually 9-11 minutes). Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water (you may not need it). Drain and set aside. 
  • Now pour the cashew cream into the pan of sauce and stir to combine well. Gently simmer for 1-2 minutes to combine and thicken. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. If the sauce is too thick, you can add pasta water as needed to thin it out.
  • Now add the pasta to the pan and gently toss to coat. Remove from heat. Serve with fresh-cut parsley and vegan parmesan. Enjoy!

Notes

TIMING: I like to start cooking the pasta about 5 minutes after the sauce has started. I keep the pot of water heated so it boils quickly when I'm ready. I do this so the pasta isn't sitting too long, and it will be hot and fresh when it goes into the sauce. If you want to cook it before the sauce, I would toss it with olive oil to prevent sticking. 
CASHEWS: To prep ahead, pre-soften your cashews by placing them in cool water for 2-4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then they'll be ready to pop in the blender right away.
  • If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 6 hours or more.
  • Instead of cashew cream, you can also use 3/4 cup lite canned coconut milk. You may need to cook the sauce a few minutes longer to thicken. 
SAUCE: the amount coats 12 ounces of penne very well and it's really saucy. However, you can stretch it to 16 ounces of pasta. 

Nutrition

Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 567mg