donner-peltier distillers :: Recipes

Shrimp & Vodka Sauce, Courtesy of Dr. Peter G. Liechty

1/3 cup of Oryza® Vodka
2 lbs of Louisiana jumbo shrimp peeled (21/25)
Coarse Kosher Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
Two 28 oz cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
Crushed hot red pepper
1 pound penne pasta
2/3 cup of Half & Half cream
Fresh basil

Serves 4 to 6

In a stock pot over high heat, bring a generous amount of salted water to a boil.

In another vessel, heat a 3 count of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with coarse salt. Cook for a few minutes until pink. Swiftly get the shrimp out of the vessel into a cool dish and keep uncovered at room temperature. This technique ensures that they will be perfectly cooked in the final dish.

Residual oil and debris should remain in the vessel. This is the essence of the sea! Return to medium heat and add more olive oil. Smash the 12 whole garlic cloves with the side of your chef’s knife and throw those into the vessel. Gently cook these for a few minutes. Open the two 28 oz. cans of San Marzano tomatoes and pour their liquid over the sizzling garlic cloves. Hand crush each of the tomatoes and add to the vessel. Increase the heat, add a little more salt, and throw in a tablespoon or two of crushed hot red pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the vodka. At this point, knock the heat back down to medium and allow the sauce to simmer until the pasta is done.

Add the penne to the boiling water. If the package says to boil 11 minutes, 9 minutes is ideal. We’ll be adding the pasta to the hot sauce later to finish.

When the pasta is close to being done, cut the heat on the sauce and stir in the cream. It should be a beautiful pink color. Add the room temperature shrimp at this point and make sure they are submerged in the hot sauce. Drain the al dente penne and add this to the sauce. Carefully stir so the pasta is thoroughly coated. Allow this to sit on the stove top for a few minutes. Serve in bowls and add hand torn basil to the top. Enjoy!

Notes from Dr. Peter:

I have always had a special place in my heart for this dish. It is succulent and rich. It is how I won over my eventual fiancée. It is truly a food of love. Recently, I added local craft vodka from my dear friends at Donner-Peltier Distillers. Oryza® is distilled from Louisiana rice and is an authentic, bold vodka, but there’s more. The rice gives it a roundness that really marries well with this dish. It was a top notch dish before – It is now upper echelon.

Local seafood is the only option. I like shrimp because it holds up nicely. Other seafood can be added as well – jumbo lump Louisiana blue crab is a favorite. I hand crush my canned tomatoes because the texture is more rustic. I am generous with the crushed red pepper as well. Penne is the classic pasta with this dish, but any al dente pasta will do.


Peter G Liechty MD