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Penne ala Vodka

Penne ala Vodka is one of those classic pasta dishes that just never gets old. It’s the perfect blend of creamy, tomato-y goodness with a bold kick of vodka that elevates the entire dish.

A dish that’s both comforting and sophisticated, Penne ala Vodka perfect for a cozy night in or a fancy dinner party. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little booze in their pasta?

A top down view of a white bowl filled with penne pasta in a tomato sauce. The background is wood painted in green, blue, and white stripes.

To start off, you’ll want to gather your ingredients. You’ll need some penne pasta, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, garlic, onion, butter, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and of course, some vodka.

Don’t skimp on the vodka – it’s what really makes this dish shine!

First, get your water boiling and cook the penne according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, you can start on the sauce.

Heat up some olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in your diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until they’re nice and fragrant. Next, pour in your crushed tomatoes and a pinch of red pepper flakes, let them simmer for a few minutes to really meld all the flavors together.

Penne pasta in a tomato sauce in a white serving dish. The dish is sitting on a multi-colored piece of wood, with a blue towel in the background.

Now it’s time to add a splash of vodka to the sauce and let it cook for a few more minutes! This is where things get really fun. Pour in a generous splash of vodka (about 1/2 cup) and let it cook for a few minutes. This step not only adds a delicious flavor to the sauce, but it also helps to deglaze the pan and bring all the flavors together.

You want the alcohol to cook off so all you’re left with is the delicious flavor. Then, stir in your heavy cream to create a rich and creamy sauce, then add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce cook for a few more minutes until it thickens up a bit.

Finally, add in your cooked penne and toss everything together until the pasta is coated in that amazing creamy tomato sauce. And that’s it – you’re ready to dig in! Serve it up with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine, and you’ve got yourself a restaurant-worthy meal right in your own home.

A close up view of a white serving dish. In the dish is a tomato covered penne pasta with pieces of basil.

Penne ala vodka is one of those dishes that’s perfect for any occasion – whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just whipping up a quick dinner for yourself. It’s simple yet elegant, and the flavors are just out of this world. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds will thank you!

What can you serve with this Penne ala Vodka?
Penne ala Vodka is a rich and creamy dish, so it’s best to serve it with light and refreshing sides that balance out the flavors. Here are some ideas for what to serve with Penne ala Vodka:

  1. Green salad: A simple green salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette or balsamic dressing pairs well with penne ala vodka. The acidity of the dressing will help cut through the richness of the pasta.
  2. Garlic bread: Crusty garlic bread is a classic side that pairs well with any pasta dish, and penne ala vodka is no exception. Toast some Italian bread and brush it with garlic butter for a delicious accompaniment.
  3. Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, or asparagus make a healthy and flavorful side to serve with penne ala vodka. Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness, which complements the creamy sauce.
  4. Grilled chicken or shrimp: Adding some grilled chicken or shrimp to the dish will not only add some protein, but it will also complement the flavors in the sauce. Grilled chicken or shrimp is also a great way to turn this dish into a complete meal.
  5. Caprese salad: A simple caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil is a light and refreshing side that pairs well with penne ala vodka. The freshness of the tomatoes and basil will contrast nicely with the richness of the pasta.

With these sides, you’ll have a complete and delicious meal that will impress your guests or satisfy your family’s appetite.

Some tips:

  1. Use high-quality ingredients: Since this dish has a simple ingredient list, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients to really make it shine. Opt for San Marzano canned tomatoes, good quality vodka, and fresh herbs for the best flavor.
  2. Cook the penne al dente: It’s important to cook the penne pasta al dente (firm to the bite) so it holds up well in the sauce. Follow the cooking instructions on the package and be sure to salt the water generously for added flavor.
  3. Let the sauce simmer: Allow the sauce to simmer on low heat for at least 20-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together and the sauce thicken to your desired consistency. Be patient and give it time to really develop flavor.
  4. Adjust the seasoning: Taste the sauce as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt or pepper, or adjust the red pepper flakes to suit your taste preferences.
  5. Don’t skimp on the vodka: While you don’t want the sauce to be overly boozy, the vodka is an important component of this dish. Use a good quality vodka and be sure to cook off the alcohol so you’re left with the delicious flavor without the harshness.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs and cheese: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil and grated Parmesan cheese can take this dish to the next level. Don’t skip this step – it adds both flavor and visual appeal.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to make a delicious and restaurant-worthy penne ala vodka right in your own kitchen. Enjoy!

A white dish filled with penne ala vodka. In the background is a blue towel that is out of focus.

How to Store:

Penne ala vodka can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Here are some tips for storing and freezing penne ala vodka:

Refrigerator storage:

  1. Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature before storing it.
  2. Transfer the pasta to an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
  3. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.


  • Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature before freezing it.
  • Transfer the pasta to an airtight container or a freezer-safe resealable bag.
  • Label the container or bag with the date of freezing and the contents.
  • Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you LOVE this Penne ala Vodka recipe, try this Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta OR this Italian Pasta and Marinara Meat Sauce!


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A top down view of penne pasta combined with a tomato sauce. The dish is covered with melting, grated cheese.

Penne ala Vodka

Penne ala Vodka

Yield: 4 Large Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A classic pasta dish that just never gets old. Penne ala Vodka is the perfect blend of creamy, tomato-y goodness with a bold kick of vodka that elevates the entire dish.


  • 1 pound of penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of vodka
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley or basil, chopped, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Cook the penne pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes to the skillet, along with their juices. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down and the sauce thickens.
  4. Stir in the vodka and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated and the sauce has thickened even further.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper, to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until it has thickened to your desired consistency.
  6. Add the cooked penne to the sauce and toss until the pasta is evenly coated. Serve the penne ala vodka in bowls, garnished with fresh parsley or basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 608Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 84mgSodium 251mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 5gSugar 6gProtein 11g

Nutrition data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix, and should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate.

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Penne ala Vodka
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