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Linguine with vodka sauce is a lovely Italian tradition

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By Linda Gassenheimer
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010

Fresh pasta with shrimp and a vodka-flavored sauce is a traditional Italian dinner.

"When we were small, my mother would gather all my sisters and brothers into the kitchen to help make fresh pasta," an Italian cooking student of mine once recalled. "It was always served with shellfish and a vodka sauce."

Lucky for us we can enjoy this dish with fresh pasta available in our supermarkets.

Complete the meal with a salad made by tossing 4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil-and-vinegar dressing.

Linguine with Vodka Sauce

  • Water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen diced or chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 cup vodka
  • 1 large, ripe tomato or 3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 cup clam juice
  • 34 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup basil leaves torn into small pieces
  • 14 pound fresh linguine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan filled with 4 to 5 quarts of water on to boil. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the vodka, raise heat and reduce by half, which will take about 2 minutes. Add the tomato and clam juice. Cover and cook gently without boiling for 1 minute.

Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 1 minute. Mix the cornstarch with the cream and add to the skillet. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a large serving bowl and add the basil. Place the linguine in boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Strain and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 666 calories, 16 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 282 milligrams cholesterol, 47 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 627 milligrams sodium.

This meal contains 693 calories per serving with 22 percent of calories from fat.

Helpful hints:

  • Fresh diced or chopped onion found in the produce department can be used instead of frozen.
  • Look for Italian-style salad with red radicchio leaves for the side dish.


  • Place water for pasta on to boil.
  • Prepare sauce for linguine.
  • Prepare salad.

Shopping list:

To buy: 1 package frozen diced/chopped onion; 1 small bottle vodka; 1 large, ripe tomato or 3 plum tomatoes; 34 pound shrimp, shelled; 1 carton heavy cream; 1 bunch basil; 1 package fresh linguine; 1 small piece Parmesan cheese; 1 bottle clam juice; 1 bag washed Italian-style salad.

Staples: Olive oil, minced garlic, cornstarch, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, salt, black peppercorns.

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