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Hondo's Bar

Penne con Granchio e Vodka


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DJ and I went to a small italian restaurant tonight and I had this dish. I've had vodka sauce before and while it's always a nice alternative to tomato sauce or any cream sauce, i've never had it with anything in it. This place, Palladino's, gently sautées 'lump' crab meat (meat from the back fin of the common blue crab...considered the sweetest and most flavorful part) before adding it to a simple vodka sauce, then serves it over penne pasta. Unfortunately they must have run out of penne, because I was served plain ol' spaghetti, but it was still damn tasty.


So I thought I'd share this recipe for vodka sauce with you all. It's a deceptively simple recipe, it just takes a little time to prepare because of the alcohol. If anyone decides to have a crack at it, let me know!



1 large sweet onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, coarsely copped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

1 1/4 cups vodka, premium quality

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

1 (5 1/2 ounce) can tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste


Saute onion, garlic and olive oil in large sauce pot until translucent. Do NOT overcook or brown.

Add the cans of crushed tomatoes and vodka. Opening the cans first ensures full tomato flavor.

Cook about 1/2 hour or until all alcohol has burned off.

Add heavy cream and basil. Stir.

Add tomato paste as desired. If you want a thinner sauce, use less tomato paste. Stir.

Let simmer about 1/2 hour.

Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with penne and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Good on ya, Aarty, let me know! I should have noted that items like garlic and basil are really to taste... personally I like LOTS of flavor so I lean more toward adding more than is recommended, but I know there are folks out there who either dont like or can't handle that much so err on the side of personal taste, versus what the recipe calls for.

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