Penne alla Vodka with Butternut Squash and Wilted Greens


Prep time 15hrs
Cook time 35hrs
Serves or Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 1/ 2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil,
  • 1 pound Colavita Penne Rigate
  • 2 cups (from about 1/2 bunch) Swiss chard or lacinato kale, sliced into 1/2" wide ribbons
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1/ 4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/ 4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

  • Step 2

    Toss onion, tomatoes, butternut squash, and garlic on a baking sheet with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook until squash is fork-tender, about 25 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook Colavita Penne Rigate until al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir Swiss chard or kale into the pot for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 2/3 cup pasta water, then drain and set aside. Wipe out pot and return to stove.

  • Step 4

    Heat remaining olive oil in the pot over medium-low heat. Add sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 2 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove pot from heat and let cool for a minute or two, then proceed to the next step (this prevents the tomato paste from sputtering too much in the hot oil!)

  • Step 5

    Add tomato paste to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramelized and a shade darker, about 4 minutes. Add reserved pasta water and vodka and stir until well combined. Cook for 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the squash and tomato mixture and heavy cream to the pot and stir to combine.

  • Step 6

    Carefully blend sauce with an immersion blender or a high-speed blender until smooth. Taste and season with salt and a pinch of sugar if necessary. Reserve 2 cups sauce for serving or freeze in an air-tight container for another use.

  • Step 7

    Toss pasta with sauce and half the parmesan cheese, then serve into bowls and top with fried sage leaves and a sprinkle of remaining parmesan.