My sister has one of THE BEST Penne alla Vodka recipes around. It's a 'lick the bowl clean' kind of awesome. And a dish so good, I never dared to order it at a restaurant because it always paled in comparison. That creamy pink sauce of hers is...was....divine!
These days, however, I'm kickin it dairy free. But that doesn't mean I still can't enjoy Penne alla Vodka. I love taking old recipes and recreating them with a new twist.
And to be honest, this recipe wasn't that hard to recreate. The sauce contains minimal ingredients - it's a mixture of tomatoes, heavy cream, red pepper flakes and of course, vodka.
So the only thing I needed to make a swap for was the dairy. Seems easy enough!
And since I've cut dairy out of my kitchen for quite some time now, I've learned a thing or two about the awesome alternatives. There's plenty of options! You've got cashews - which work like a charm but don't always work for people with a nut allergy. Cauliflower, which is really great in soups but a little thick for what I was going for. And coconut milk, but can add a different taste.
I opted to try the cashews - since they never let me down.
In the kitchen I went to try to recreate the magic. I really wanted it to taste and look just like hers - creamy, spicy and with that same beautiful pinkish hue. I soaked my cashews for 2 hours ahead of time so they were nice and plump. You could also boil them for 10-15 minutes if you forget to soak. And then made the red sauce base. When it came to add the cream, I blended up the cashews and poured in the goodness.
And guess what? It tasted and looked just. like. hers. And the best part, I only needed to make one swap - cashews for heavy cream. That was it!
Oh that's another easy swap. For all my pasta recipes (like my Cacio e Pepe), I use brown rice pasta from Jovial. For me there is no other, Jovial Foods for the win, always. If you prefer you can use a grain free pasta made of legumes but I really enjoy the taste and texture of the brown rice.
**Be sure to presoak your cashews 2 hours before cooking.
This recipe was created by Jessica Yeager, CNE <–click the link and come hang out on FB with me!
Or tag me on the gram with #jessicayeagercne if you make this recipe! I LOVE seeing your creations <3
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