Fettuccine with alla Vodka Sauce and Pink Shrimp

March 25, 2014

The history of alla Vodka Sauce seems somewhat sketchy. Upon reading up on it a bit today and having the usual conversation with my fiery grandmother Josie, I find this recipe is seemingly MORE American than Italian. If you will American – Italian would be the very best I can figure at this time.

I can say this much, though, after spending some of my downtimes reading up on alla Vodka Sauce on Wikipedia. The exact origins of Penne alla Vodka are unclear; there have been multiple claims to the invention of the dish.

Everyone from Paula Franzese, an American law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law. He stated his father, Luigi Franzese, created the dish in 1970. Dante, a restaurant in Italy. James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University, and finally Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook, states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.


The history of alla Vodka sauce seems somewhat sketchy, to say the least. Upon reading up on it a bit today, and having the usual conversation with my fiery grandmother Josie, I find this recipe is seemingly MORE American than Italian ... If you will American - Italian would be the very best I can figure at this time.I turn to Josie and ask, ” WHO isn’t claiming this YUMMY concoction ?? ” Josie has a reply all right… Her eyes roll up in her head. She fiercely flicks that cigarette in her ashtray- she replies, ” Everyone in their mother EXCEPT traditional Italians… That’s Who Linny the Pooh! ”

Josie calls me Linny the Pooh because of my middle name being Linn…also, and I guess since I was a baby, I have loved Winnie the Pooh. There are a few things I have a passion for cooking, the history of food, Winnie the Pooh, and Josie. Most of you know Josie by now. ( She’s that lovely grandmother I adore . )

Onward to the recipe!


Fettuccine with alla Vodka Sauce and Pink Shrimp

  • One pound of Fettuccine noodles

  • Two pounds of steamed Key West Pink Shrimp

  • Two (28-ounce) cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes

  • Two shallots, minced

  • Three cloves of garlic, diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 and 1 /2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 cup of vodka

  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil

  • Two tablespoons of olive oil

  • One cup of  heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large metal skillet over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.  Add the 1 cup of vodka – cook till the mixture is reduced by almost half.

  2. Meanwhile, add the crushed tomatoes to the pan, two teaspoons kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place it on the stovetop on very low for 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the stovetop and let cool for 15 minutes.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and cook the pasta al dente. (Follow package instructions) Drain and set aside.

  4. Place the tomato sauce mixture in a blender and purée until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

  5. Reheat the sauce add two tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 10 minutes.

  6. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more if desired. Add shrimp and re-toss. Stir in 1/2 cup Romano cheese.

  7. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Romano cheese and fresh basil on each plate.





Fettuccine with alla Vodka Sauce and Pink Shrimp

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  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

    One of my favorites!!! Beautiful photo!

  • Reply
    Joanne T Ferguson
    March 26, 2014 at 1:27 am

    G’day! This is one of my fave sauces Heidy! LOVE shrimp!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Reply
      Heidy L. McCallum
      March 28, 2014 at 3:39 am

      Thank you so much Joanne , shrimp are a HUGE favorite in our house!

  • Reply
    Nicole Neverman
    March 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I would LOVE a nice big plate full of that! YUM! Fantastic recipe Heidy 🙂

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