I may be a little late for World Pasta Day, but any day is a good day for my favorite pasta dish. This simple recipe was given to me by my 1st grade teacher and close family friend, Elaine Connell. For some reason, penne pasta just tastes better with a creamy red sauce. This vodka and cream-based sauce is smooth and delicious. Best of all, it’s easy to prepare and can be made quickly for busy families still trying to have a family dinner. I prefer to use heavy cream for the extra flavor. For a hearty (but still healthy) meal, add some sundried tomatoes and a little sausage. Veggie sausages pan-fried in olive oil are chock full of protein and have significantly less fat and cholesterol. When cooked well, they have just about the same texture as a regular sausage. If you’re not a fan of veggie sausage or tofu, add some turkey sausage to the mix (which offers all the protein and about a third of the fat, calories, and cholesterol of a regular pork sausage). Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil with the red pepper and garlic until it starts to sizzle. Then add the vodka and cream, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and simmer again for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and add the simmering sauce. Toss together with the basil and half of the cheese. Serve at once on warm plates. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Edward Stern is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on the subject of becoming a medical transcriptionist for the Guide to Health Education. Alison Note: Thanks so much Ed! If YOU would like to guest-blog for The Oldways Table Blog, email me at

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