Creamy and irresistible vegan penne alla vodka recipe that will quickly become an easy, go to meal any night of the week.
This recipe is my take on a really simple pasta alla vodka sauce recipe that is incredibly flavourful and easily made vegan. I tend to make this using the classic penne, but any style pasta would work fine. Use gluten-free pasta if required.
If you have no interest in making this dish vegan, or in keeping it under 400 calories, I would recommend replacing the cashew cream with dairy cream and adding bacon or pancetta to the sauce to give it a more authentic flavour. If you don't want to go too crazy with the calories, use evaporated milk, thinned a bit with pasta water, and chicken or turkey bacon, both of which work great. Chicken and shrimp are also good alternative protein options. Vegans unconcerned with calorie counts can consider adding chopped vegan sausage.
TIP: To reduce the fat content in this recipe, omit the butter, reduce the cashew cream to 1/2 cup, reduce the vodka to 1 tablespoon, and reduce the cheese to 1/4 cup leaving the completed pasta ungarnished. This will drop the calories to 272 and fat to 12.75g.
(Makes 4 servings)
2 cups dry pasta, your shape of choice, prepared as per package instructions, water retained after cooking (gluten-free if needed)
3/4 cups cashews, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon plant-based butter
1/2 small sweet onion, finely chopped
1 red chili pepper, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons vodka
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese, divided
Cook the pasta you've selected as per the package instructions until it is al dente.
As the pasta cooks, drain and rinse the cashews then add them to a high-powered blender with 3/4 cups of water. Blend on high until it is completely smooth and creamy, then set aside.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the extra virgin olive oil and butter. As the butter starts to melt, add in the onion and red chili pepper. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the tomato paste and combine. Add in the chili flakes and vodka then mix well and sauté for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.
Add in 1/2 cup of pasta water and the cashew cream then mix well. Taste for seasoning and add any salt and ground black pepper to suit your palette.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Combine the pasta with the sauce until it is all coated, adding additional pasta water if you feel as if it isn't saucy enough. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of the parmesan and mix.
Serve immediately with the remaining parmesan and chopped parsley as garnish (optional).
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 358 | total fat = 19.12g | saturated fat = 2.34g | cholesterol = 0mg | sodium = 130.69mg | carbohydrates = 34.81g | dietary fibre = 5.89g | sugars = 5.36g | protein = 11.44g