Preparation time

10 minutes

Cooking time

30 minutes

Total time

40 minutes




  • 450g dried penne pasta
  • 450g Italian sausagemeat
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 235 ml whipping cream (US “heavy cream”)
  • 2 tbsp vodka
  • “4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves”


  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until cooked through; remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet; add onions and salt, and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and red pepper, cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, cream, vodka, and return the sausage to the pot. Allow the mixture to come to a slow simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Prior to serving, fold in the pasta, followed by the spinach, and toss until spinach is wilted and incorporated.



  • Made the Italian sausagemeat with English sausagemeat, worked ok (but took a long time to brown to a happy level)
  • Failed at “keeping the pasta warm”; next time will try to time pasta to be done when sauce is
  • Used whole 300ml tub of whipping cream
  • Used whole bag of spinach
  • Didn’t use any garlic or red pepper flakes


  • No garlic, no red pepper flakes, and Italian sausagemeat made with pork mince not English sausagemeat
  • 200g bag of spinach
  • Leaving the pasta in the water was easier but made for wetter, less-good sauce