I came across a photo of Pioneer Woman’s Penne ala Betsy.  I knew I wanted to try it, or at least something close to it.  I had fresh tomatoes that I brought home from Mom & Dad’s and I had shrimp and the last bit of heavy cream in my fridge.  I didn’t have the wine but I had vodka.  So, I basically threw it together and prayed because I have never ever made a vodka sauce before.  My prayers were answered.  It was the most yummy sauce I have ever made!  Both Grumpy and I loved it and his words as I sit here typing was “make sure you tell everyone how yummy your sauce was!”  This evening Grumpy ate like a king.  This is probably the only night he will this week, so if any of his co-workers read this, let him know please that you know he ate like a king last night!   He tells me you all think he does every night and that it is MY fault you think so.  I think its all his fault, but I won’t argue the fact ;o)

This is my submission for Presto Pasta Nights for this week.  If you would like to participate, please check out the website for instructions on how to join in!

Spicy Penne Vodka with Shrimp
Serves 4 comfortably, 2 completely

Printable Recipe
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup vodka
3 medium tomatoes, diced

1-1//2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon better than boullion vegetable concentrate (or 1 bouillon cube)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne pasta (I use whole wheat) cooked according to package directions

2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
2 small cloves garlic, minced

Saute onion and butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic.  Cook and stir 1 minute more.  Add vodka and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes more.  Add heavy cream, bring to boil, add bouillon, turn down heat and simmer (uncovered) about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sauce will begin to thicken as it simmers.

While sauce is simmering, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add shrimp.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until shrimp is no longer pink,stirring every few minutes.  This will take about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool. Chop into bite size pieces.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Add pasta to sauce along with shrimp.  Stir to combine.  Serve.  Don’t feel bad if you feel you have to lick the bowl clean.  You don’t want to waste one drop of that yummy sauce!

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. TeaLady September 7, 2011 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Have seen and wanted to Try PW's Penne, but haven't yet. Glad to know can do with vodka. Looks delish.

  2. Pegasuslegend September 7, 2011 at 1:47 am - Reply

    The flavors are just what we like here will have to try this one out soon!

  3. Nutmeg Nanny September 7, 2011 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I love vodka sauce! I love that it's spicy and includes shrimp…yum!

  4. Kathleen September 7, 2011 at 4:56 am - Reply

    This sounds amazing! Probably better than the original!!!

  5. Mari September 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    You got my attention with the shrimps and vodka. I am sure it is delicious!

  6. bellini September 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Grumpy is right of course. This sauce would be wonderful Shelby.As far as eating like a King, just make double the recipe and live on leftovers for those days when you are both too busy to cook:D

  7. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme September 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Sounds just delicious, Shelby! Definitely on the to-try list.

  8. Inspired by eRecipeCards September 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Great reminder I haven't made a vodka sauce in some time… Make extra, it;s great on a hamburger too

  9. Ruth Daniels September 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    It's all I can do to keep from licking the screen! Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    Gotta go… I'm drooling on the keyboard.

  10. Patsyk September 8, 2011 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Fabulous recipe, Shelby! I love when it all comes together using what you have on hand. I would have a hard time not polishing of this meal!

  11. tandysinclair.com September 8, 2011 at 7:52 am - Reply

    vodka and shrimps, you cannot go wrong!

  12. Mads September 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Do you use a high quality vodka for this or will any ole thing do?
    I happen to have everything on hand and it looks delicious!

  13. Gay September 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Vodka sauce sounds good. Would it work with breaded porkchops?

  14. Shelby September 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Sure, I think it would work as a sauce over breaded pork chopes 🙂

  15. Joanna September 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Yummy, that sounds fantastic!

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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