Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

62 reviews, 4.3 star(s). 93% would make again

Ready in 45 minutes

Delicioso... One of the simplest and most popular Italian-American dishes. This luscious, creamy vodka sauce is slightly rich, has a little spicy tang, with just a zing of vodka in the background. It works equally well with rigatonni, ravioli, tortellini, or ziti pasta as well as on some poultry dishes or bruschetta appetizers. For the best sauce, use the best vodka you can -- it really does make a difference!

"I thought that this recipe was great! I modified the recipe a bit, using whole wheat pasta and light whipping cream, just to make it a bit healthier. I also added some shredded chicken breast. My husband loved it! It took a little long from prep time to finish.....but I always take long the first time I am following a recipe. I think that I will try some Italian turkey sausage next time."


1 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes; (I use San Marzano), whole peeled
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 small Onion; minced
2 medium Shallots; minced
1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper; or to taste (more or less)
1 tablespoon tomato paste; (I use Hunt's or Muir Glen)
2 medium cloves Garlic; minced or pressed through garlic press
Sea salt
1/3 cup Vodka; (use a good quality vodka)
1/2 cup Heavy cream; at room temperature
1 pound Penne pasta wheat
8 Fresh basil leaves; (up to 10) torn and shredded (about 2 tablespoons)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; for serving, freshly grated

Original recipe makes 4 Servings



Bring 4 quarts water to rapid boil in a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.

Drain tomatoes reserving liquid. Puree half of tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces. Combine both pureed and diced tomatoes in a measuring cup and add enough of reserved tomato liquid to equal 2 cups of tomatoes; set aside. Measure out vodka; set aside.

Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, shallots, pepper flakes and tomato paste. Saute, stirring frequently, until onions and shallots just begin to turn light golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stirring continuously, saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka*. Return pan to heat and bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until strong alcohol flavor cooks off and sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 2 minutes.

While sauce is cooking (right after adding vodka to sauce): Add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and drop pasta. Cook, stirring frequently, until molto al dente (about 1 minute shy of al dente - which is tender, but firm to the bite). Drain pasta well, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Return pasta back to Dutch oven, add sauce, and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs some of the sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking water, as needed, if sauce is too thick. Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt. Serve immediately, passing Parmigiano-Reggiano separately.

* Note: Drop the pasta into the boiling water just after adding the vodka to the sauce so that the sauce and pasta finish cooking at the same time.


If your concerned about cooking with vodka, know that most (but not all) of it cooks off leaving just a hint of vodka that melds perfectly with the tomatoes, onions, shallots and garlic.

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Penne a la Vodka


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Very easy to make and tastes great!
Valerie411 6m ago

Loved it. Didn't have a blender so chopped the tomatoes as much as o could. Also used a small red onion and some green onions. I added more herbs and salt. Maybe more cream next time.
Chelsea925 9m ago

Really enjoyed it! Served with simple grilled chicken. May add a dash ofvsugar next time and a tad more salt. But a winner!
stevemur 1y ago

Very tasty! I loved this!
Jennelson1984 1y ago

OMG..judt made this and was a huge hit with my family..adding to my cook book!!!
mly_hlfrd2012 1y ago

Absolutely delicious, I was very disappointed that I had cleared my plate and there wasn't more to eat! I didn't have shallots or green onion so just used red onion instead, also used Grey Goose for my choice of vodka and it was wonderful. My husband said multiple times while eating how good it was. Definitely will make again.
Jackiechan042003 2y ago

This was some banging vodka sauce. I added mushrooms and spinach but would have been just as good without it. Nice job
junta804 2y ago

Wow, OUTSTANDING! Used 1/2 cup of Grey Goose vodka and 3/4 cup heavy cream (wanted a richer, blush sauce). Topped it off with grilled chicken. Ate it for dinner and lunch the following two days, and I'm still dreaming of more! Have I mentioned how much we LOVED this recipe?
sHellsKitchen 2y ago

Used half and half instead...and simmered for 15 min to get strong vodka taste off but was really good
reezee 2y ago

reezee 2y ago

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