This penne alla vodka with sausage features tender roasted red peppers in a classic tomato vodka sauce with plenty of flavorful sausage and penne pasta.
Weeknight pastas like this are always a go-to in our house! Bonus points if it’s ready in less than an hour.
We’ve shared penne alla vodkas on the website before like this shells version and this cheesy baked version, but today’s recipe is all about the simplicity.
A classic vodka tomato sauce spiced up with roasted red peppers and lots of flavorful sausage keeps the flavors simple but dang tasty.
I mean….I’m personally considering moving into that pot up there. It’s just so ridiculously good.
Kinda like spaghetti night bumped up a notch while still keeping dinner easy as heck.
This Penne alla Vodka with Sausage features…
- A flavorful roasted red pepper vodka sauce.
- Savory browned Italian sausage.
- Tender penne pasta.
- Ready in under an hour with basic pantry ingredients.
Making the Penne alla Vodka with Sausage
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Roasted red peppers
- Italian sausage
- Olive oil
- Tomato paste
- Whole peeled tomatoes
- Red pepper flakes
- Heavy whipping cream
- Penne pasta
- Parmesan cheese
Tips for Perfect Penne alla Vodka
- Brown sausage – we recommend using a sweet Italian sausage and breaking it up into bite-sized pieces while browning it.
- Saute aromatics – cook the shallot and garlic until just slightly tender, then deglaze the pan with vodka.
- Add half of roasted red peppers to sauce for simmering – this portion of the peppers will get blended into the sauce to add body, while the rest of the peppers get added after blending for a bit of texture.
- Simmer sauce – allow the sauce to simmer 20-25 minutes to build flavor.
- Use whole basil leaves in sauce – this adds a subtle herby flavor to the sauce – don’t forget to remove them after the sauce is done.
- Blend sauce – you can use a handheld immersion blender or a regular blender. Feel free to blend to your preferred smoothness!
- Cook penne to al dente – the pasta will continue to cook a bit once added to the sauce, so make sure to boil only to al dente.
Try these ideas for a different spin on this recipe!
- Change up the meat – try cubed chicken, bacon, or ground beef in place of the sausage.
- Skip the meat – alternatively, just leave out the sausage for a vegetarian version.
- Add more veggies – sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, or carrot would be great extra veggie additions.
- Make it spicy – add extra red pepper flakes for a penne with some kick!
Make Ahead Instructions
Many components of this penne alla vodka can be made way ahead of time!
- The sauce – make the sauce and store in the fridge up to 6 days or freeze up to 2 months.
- Sausage – the sausage may be browned and stored in the fridge up to 6 days.
- Full assembly – leftovers of this penne reheat great if you want to meal prep! Store penne in the fridge up to 6 days.
The smoky roasted red peppers and savory sausage really do take this penne to the next level! You won’t believe all the flavor that’s built into the sauce in only 50 minutes.
Don’t skimp on the fresh basil and Parmesan sprinkled on top of your XL bowl of this goodness!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More weeknight pasta dishes to try next!
Roasted Red Pepper Penne alla Vodka with Sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2-in cubes
- 3 large whole basil leaves
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- Fresh minced basil and grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- Heat a Dutch oven or medium pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add sausage and stir occasionally until sausage is browned. Transfer sausage to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Saute shallot in remaining pan drippings over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to pot and saute 1 additional minute until fragrant. Deglaze pan with vodka, scraping up any browned bits.
- Add tomato paste, whole tomatoes, half of roasted red peppers, and basil leaves to pot. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer 20-30 minutes until slightly reduced.
- Discard basil leaves, transfer sauce to a blender and blend on high speed until sauce is smooth. Pour sauce back into pot and stir in heavy cream, sausage, remaining roasted red peppers, and penne.
- Season penne with salt and pepper to taste. Serve penne alla vodka warm with fresh basil and Parmesan on top and enjoy!
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