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Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce

Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Liz


  • 1 - 1 1/3 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 3/4 c. vodka
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. pasta I use whole wheat penne
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil about 20 leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella


  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, saute sausage, breaking up into small pieces. When almost completely browned, add garlic and shallots, sauteing for another few minutes until sausage is browned completely and garlic and shallots have begun to soften.
  2. Slowly, add vodka, stirring and scraping bottom of the pan to get any extra bits up. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half. Add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper (I used a large pinch of each). Stir, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, before lowering heat to keep warm.
  3. While sauce is simmering, preheat oven to broil and cook pasta according to package. Then drain.
  4. When pasta is almost ready, increase heat to low and stir in cream and basil. Add pasta. Fold in 1 c. mozzarella. Top pasta with remaining 1/2 c. pasta and broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve immediately, with fresh garlic bread and/or a side salad.