January 25, 2021

The Ultimate Penne a la Vodka

ultimate penne a la vodka
Penne a la Vodka is a classic sauce that is creamy and flavorful. Cooked penne pasta is coated in a rich and delicious tomato, vodka and cream sauce. The key to the velvety smooth sauce is using some tomato paste! It thickens the sauce just enough while adding a punch of flavor. Not only will you have a meal that is a hit with everyone, but you will have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes! You can also try this dish with grilled chicken or shrimp for added protein.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 ½ tsp salt


  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring often for 1-2 minutes.
  • Purée the canned tomatoes until smooth and then pour the tomato purée into the pan.
  • Add the vodka to the pan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes So the vodka is cooked off AND the tomatoes begin to reduce.
  • Slowly stir in the heavy cream, reserved pasta water and parmesan cheese and simmer for another 3 minutes or until thickened. Season the sauce with salt to taste.
  • Add the cooked pasta into the sauce and toss to coat.
  • Garnish with parsley, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
Keyword 30 minute meal, kid-friendly, one-pot-meal

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