Classic penne alla vodka gets a twist with crumbled chorizo and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Use homemade vodka sauce for a special occasion, or your favorite jarred sauce for an ultra-fast weeknight crowd-pleaser.
When we first moved back to the US this summer, before the majority of our things arrived, I did my best to avoid eating out by making simple meals that don’t require much effort or any special kitchen utensils. I did, however, have the advantage of doing some shopping at the Delallo flagship store in Jeannette, PA, which is just down the road from my parents’ house.
Usually when I go there during a visit home, I feel slightly guilty about loading up my cart. This time, though – zero remorse. We literally had an empty pantry waiting for us in Virginia, so I gave myself the green light to buy all the things. Including all varieties of dried pasta, olive oil and vinegars, jarred pestos and sauces. All fantastic short-cuts for making easy meals.
And, of the easy meals I made during that time, my hands-down favorite was this one. Pasta + vodka sauce + chorizo + sun-dried tomatoes. Simple, easy, and dangerously delicious.
Since then, I’ve made this several additional times with my favorite homemade vodka sauce. Making it from scratch always feels good, but honestly it tastes delicious with a quality jarred sauce, as well, and it’s always nice to have options!
What to serve with penne alla vodka
This is a hearty meal in its own right, so I usually keep the sides pretty light. Some fresh arugula or baby spinach right in the bowl is lovely!
For more of a side, you could also try:
- Roasted broccolini
- Roasted asparagus
- 5-minute arugula salad with Parmesan and pine nuts
- Classic Caesar salad
And, you know, if you really want to go all out, I’m sure no one would turn up their nose at a big basket of garlic bread. 🙂
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Penne Alla Vodka With Chorizo and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
A simple weeknight meal full of flavor!
- 16 oz. dried penne or other pasta
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. chorizo sausage
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups vodka sauce jarred or try it homemade!
- freshly-grated Parmesan and fresh basil, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions.
While pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chorizo from its casings and crumble the meat into the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking into bite-sized pieces, for 3-4 minutes, until brown and cooked through. Set aside.
Drain the pasta when ready, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return drained pasta to the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Add chorizo, tomatoes, and sauce. Stir well to combine. If the sauce appears too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time. Cook the pasta and sauce together for 2 minutes to marry the flavors, then serve.
- Any type of pasta is fine - penne is a traditional option, but I also love to make this with fusilli, orechiette, or cavatappi. I do like to use something with ridges - it allows me to imagine that the pasta is clinging onto the luscious sauce more intensely. 🙂
- You may find sun-dried tomatoes sold in a jar with oil, or literally dried out in a shelf-stable package. Either is fine for this dish; if you are using those packed in oil, which I think is more common, I recommend draining them and lightly dabbing some of the excess oil with a paper towel before chopping and adding them to the dish.
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