Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Meal Idea: Penne Vodka

It's Thanksgiving Day and I'm home in the the kitchen cooking while also watching the Macys Parade and playing with my nephew. Great day to be off! 

Thank God for the moments I can get a little break from preparing my meal while the food is boiling or sitting in the oven. But it's an even greater thing that I'm not cooking an entire meal. Just one dish; Penne Vodka.

Don't get me wrong; recipes are good and all and it's important to follow some sort of guide when whipping something up that is meant to be enjoyable. But my improvising is more for the getting in and out of the hot kitchen quicker and to keep the food item a little bit leaner, if that's even possible. Like for instance; real vodka sauce requires heavy cream and vodka. I do not drink alcohol and decided not to purchase the actual beverage for it this time, but instead to get the vodka sauce already prepared in a bottle for my convenience. 

So here it is; my recipe for Penne Vodka.


Gluten Free Penne
Gluten Free Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
Vodka Sauce
Garlic Powder
Green Pepper
Red Pepper
Shredded Italian Four Cheeses
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Olive Oil
Olive Oil Spray


1. Add about seven cups of water to a stew pot and place over medium heat. Add salt and olive oil and let it sit over the fire until it boils.

2. Add penne and leave it over fire until shells are soft.

3. Remove water with a strainer.

4. Preheat oven to 375.

5. Take baking pan and spray with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the tray with fire roasted diced tomatoes and vodka sauce. Sprinkle with garlic.

6. Add a layer of pasta. Take spoon fully of ricotta cheese and stir into the pasta. Layer it with cheddar cheese, Italian cheese and Parmesan cheese. Dice about a handful each of green pepper and red pepper and sprinkle atop. Cover the pasta with fire roasted tomatoes, vodka sauce and garlic. 

7. Repeat #6 layering until the capacity of the baking pan is filled. The top layer in pan should be the fire roasted tomatoes, vodka sauce, garlic, peppers and cheeses. 

8. Place in the oven for warming and melting purposes "only." 

9. Best served warm. Pairs well with white wine or apple cider for the non-drinkers. I am not the biggest meat eater but add shrimp or chicken cutlets to the dish for those interested in a fancier meal item. 

Whatever you do decide to eat, my prayer for you is that it is warm, hearty and with loved ones. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours! 

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