By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
October is National Pasta Month, and I'm not going to lie, pasta is a staple in our house, not just because Jesse loves it, but because it's so fast to whip up. You really can't go wrong with pasta + veggies + beans,and it never takes over 25 minutes. Hello weeknight savior! It taste great, and it's a balanced nutritious meal. So when I found out there was a pasta Recipe Redux contest, I knew I had to up my cooking ante and try something I've always admired, but haven't tasted since before the age of 12. Don't worry--Jesse has had both regular and this version of vodka sauce and this gets his thumbs up.
Before we get to the recipe, let's talk about the vodka in vodka sauce. Pretty sure I ordered this as a small child just because alcohol sounded cool and grown up. While I love Bloody Mary's now, the thought of eating vodka and tomatoes together still sounds a little strange... Thanks to food genius, Kenji Lopez-Alt, I now have the answer. You must check out his full explanation and experiment, but in short, vodka adds heat and a sharp note to balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes and the creaminess of...cream... So if you won't have vodka in your house, it's not the end of the world. But you should really have vodka in your house.
Penne alla Vegan Vodka Sauce with Baby Kale and Mushrooms
Makes 4 servings
Makes 4 servings
- 12 oz 100% whole wheat penne pasta, dry
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes with garlic, canned
- 14 oz diced tomatoes, no salt added, canned
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 small clamshell baby kale (about 2 cups)
- 14 oz can white beans drained and rinsed
- Pinch of sea salt
- Put water on to boil for pasta.
- Blend cashews and water until it's a fine puree. Set aside.
- In one pan, start sauteing mushrooms
- In a second pan, saute onions with olive oil and red pepper flakes until onions turn translucent. Add in garlic and saute for one minute.
- Add in both cans of tomatoes and vodka. Reduce heat to a simmer for 7 minutes.
- If your water is boiling by now, add pasta to boiling water, and cook according to package (usually 9-11 minutes).
- To sauteed mushrooms add white beans and kale. Simmer for 1 minute, turn off heat and cover.
- To tomato sauce, add cashew puree and nutritional yeast. Stir.
- Plate pasta and vegetables, and cover with vodka sauce. Enjoy!
Want more healthy pasta dishes? Start here: