recipes & wine pairings

Always vegan.

Smokey Penne Alla Vodka

Smokey Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka is a recipe that brings me back to my childhood. Nostalgic foods are my favorite, as I’ve mentioned before I’m sure. With the end of these cold and rainy days nowhere in sight- this is just the dish to warm you up from the inside out.


This creamy, tomato-y pasta dish gets its smokiness from adobo sauce (the sauce that canned chipotle peppers are packed in), it’s creaminess from vegan half and half and parmesan, and the “vodka” in the name from….vodka. I’ve tried finding the reason for vodka in vodka sauces, and I found so many speculative reasons that I decided, sometimes it’s best to just appreciate a good thing- no understanding necessary. This recipe is every bit as delicious as the one I lovingly remember from my childhood.


If you try this recipe, let me know! If you happen to pair yours with some wine, let me know what wine you used and how it went! Leave a comment below, or share a picture on instagram with #datkindlife . Stay kind, bbs!

Smokey Penne Alla Vodka

 Prep Time: 5 mins    Cook Time: 25 mins    Total Time: 30 mins 


·      2 tblsp olive oil

·      ½ cup onion, chopped finely

·      4 cloves garlic, minced

·      1 tablespoon tomato paste

·      1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

·      2 tblsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers in adobo

·      ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

·      ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

·      2 teaspoons granulated sugar

·      2 teaspoons salt

·      1/3 cup vodka

·      ¾ cup vegan half & half (I used Ripple)

·      4oz vegan parmesan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart Shredded Parm)

·      1 pound penne pasta, cooked in salted water (I used Tinkyada brown rice pasta)

·      salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


1.    In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Once it shimmers, add in the onions and cook 3-5 minutes, or until onions are beginning to brown. Add in the garlic and tomato paste, stirring continuously for 2 minutes.

2.    Add in the crushed tomatoes, adobo sauce, fresh basil, fresh parsley, sugar, and salt, mixing until well combined.

3.    Stir in the vodka. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, until the raw alcohol flavor has cooked out.

4.    Decrease heat to low and stir in the half & half and the parmesan cheese. Once combined, add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix until pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

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