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Penne with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage

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Serves 4


24 oz marinara sauce, Bertolli, Mezzetta or preferred
1 lb fresh hot Italian sausage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more to taste
3/4 cup vodka
3/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus some for topping
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1 lb Penne pasta


  1. Brown the Italian sausage and drain, set aside.
  2. Simmer the marinara sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir the cream into the marinara and vodka sauce. Add crushed red pepper. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended. Add the cooked Italian sausage and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce and toss to coat, adding Italian parsley. Let stand covered 10 minutes.
  5. Chef's note: In a pinch, you can purchase a prepared Vodka Sauce. Omit the marinara sauce, vodka and heavy cream.
Course: Dinner
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