Valentine’s Day Dinner

February 14, 2011

I’ll give you three clues what I’m making tonight for my sweetie.

It has a splash of this.


A pinch of this.


And a drizzle of this.


If you guessed that I’m making (spicy) vodka pasta for Valentine’s day dinner, you’re right! I have always wanted to make this dish so I finally got online, dug up a Rachel Ray recipe (don’t tell Anthony Bourdain!) and went to town.

I had to make a sample for my readers, of course. This recipe is so easy and quick, you can whip it up tonight in no time.  It’s great for any weeknight, no need to wait for a special occasion.

Ingredients: (Makes approximately 4 servings, freeze any leftovers for later use)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 shallots (diced fine)

1 Tblsp butter

1 cup vodka

1 cup veggie stock

1 large can (38 oz) crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup heavy cream

a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

a handful of torn, fresh basil

pasta (I used whole wheat penne, but you could use whatever kind you like)


Melt the butter with the garlic and shallots on medium heat. Help it along with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Why not?


Cook down for a few minutes and add the vodka. I reached way back in the freezer to find this guy. I have no clue how long it’s been there or how decent the brand is. I’m not a vodka snob, so this worked fine for me.


Reduce on low heat until only about half the liquid remains.

Next, add tomatoes and stock and let simmer while you cook your pasta.


Add a little spicy hot red pepper if you like a kick to your sauce.


When the pasta is done, reduce heat on the sauce and add in the heavy cream and about half of the torn basil leaves. Stir until well combined.


Serve the sauce over the pasta with a bit more basil.


See, wasn’t that easy?


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Cassie October 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

This is a great recipe. My husband and I both love it. I like to add a whole bunch of mushrooms to it if I have them.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods January 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm


Ashley February 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

I’m just wondering, is there any way to substitute the heavy cream? I’m vegan and I would love it if there was a way to still make this without the heavy cream (also because I’ve noticed you’ve used it in several other recipes). Your food looks AMAZING though! ^_^

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Hm, you could definitely try a soy or rice cream substitute. I bet coconut milk would work too. But you could probably skip this ingredient altogether and still have a great dish. For me, it’s all about the basil and vodka!

Lauren at KeepItSweet February 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

Looks like you made a wonderful Valentine’s dinner! My husband loves vodka sauce and would be so happy if I made this for him.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

It’s so easy, you could surprise him with it any night of the week. Let me know how it turns out!

Suzanne @ continuing my education February 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

Love vodka sauce! I have been trying to replicate one of my favorite restaurant’s versions forever. I will have to try this version, it looks delicious!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

It is so good and so easy to make. Let me know how you like it!

Debs @ DKC February 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

Sounds very similar to my baked version with mozarella topping, see here ….. Pasta bake with chilli vokda sauce

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Debs, your recipe sounds delicious!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum February 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm

This looks so tasty. I want to eat the tomato sauce right out of the pan! The only problem that I can see is the size of the bowl (where’s your xl pasta bowl?!) :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

A bigger bowl is definitely necessary for this recipe. But, for the sake of photos, the small bowl works best. ;)

Meredith February 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

what time are you serving dinner tonight? ; )

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

haha. 7:30 sharp!

Christie {Nourishing Eats} February 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

I have never even had vodka sauce but this looks delicious!!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

Make it sometime. It will change your life- I promise!

brandi February 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

I have NEVER made a vodka sauce! It looks delicious.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods February 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

I know, I had never done it either! It’s insanely easy and so good. Make it asap!

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