Penne alla Vodka

5 from 3 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Penne alla Vodka is everything I want in a plate of pasta: creamy, cheesy and so so delicious. To be honest, if I could have 🍝 pasta for all 3 meals of the day, I totally would lol. Pasta is probably my favorite food in the world and I can never get enough. This Penne alla Vodka recipe makes 2 big portions, or serve a little less and you can have 🍽️ leftovers for lunch the next day.

Why You’ll Love Penne alla Vodka

I love Penne alla Vodka because it switches up a basic 🍅 tomato sauce while adding a ton of flavor in not a lot of time. It’s comfort food at its best, luscious and creamy and utterly delicious. I love adding fresh 🧄 garlic for great flavor, as well as nutty Parmesan cheese but feel free to add in what you love. This is a great classic pasta dish to have in your repertoire.

How to Prepare Penne alla Vodka

🫒 Start by warming up the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

🧅 Now, add the onions or shallot and sauté until translucent.

🧄 Next, add the chili flakes and garlic and then give everything a stir.

🔥 Pour in the vodka and make sure you cook it off completely.

🍅 Now, add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and salt to taste.

⏲️ Cover with a lid and let it reduce for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat.

🥛 Next, add in your heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and then stir.

♨️ Keep the heat on low and let it simmer and thicken.

💧 Meanwhile, cook the penne in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

🧑‍🍳 When it’s cooked, add it into the sauce along with a bit of the starchy cooking water.

🥄 Now, give everything a stir together and enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip 🍝

If you are dairy-free, you can absolutely use the cream from a can of coconut milk or even cashew cream sauce instead of cream.

Penne Alla Vodka

Variations and Substitutions for Penne alla Vodka

  1. If you are dairy-free, you can absolutely use the cream from a can of 🥥 coconut milk or even cashew cream sauce instead of cream.
  2. Parmesan in the sauce is totally optional.
  3. You can also cook finely cubed pancetta pieces with the garlic and onions.
  4. I use our homemade tomato sauce which only has 🍅 tomatoes salt and basil in it. Feel free to use a good-quality tomato sauce or a can of crushed tomatoes.
  5. Garnish this Penne a la Vodka with some additional Parmesan cheese and 🌿 basil leaves.

Similar Recipes

Best Served With

Common Questions

Can I make this recipe without vodka?

Yes, you can omit the vodka if you’d prefer. It adds a subtle flavor and helps emulsify the sauce, but the dish will still be delicious without it. You can substitute it with a bit of water or chicken broth if you like.

what else can I use instead of heavy cream?

You can use half-and-half, whole milk, or a non-dairy alternative like coconut milk or almond milk, though the texture and flavor may vary slightly.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes, you can use any pasta you enjoy! Penne is traditional, but spaghetti, farfalle, rigatoni, or fusilli work well too.

when do I add the pancetta?

If you’re using pancetta, please add it in while sautéing the onions and garlic.

Can I add vegetables to the penne alla vodka?

Yes, you can make this even more substantial by adding in vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini. Sauté them with the onions and garlic for added flavor and nutrition.

Can I prepare the sauce ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop before adding the cooked pasta. You can also freeze the sauce for another meal!

what do I do If my sauce is too thick or thin?

If your sauce is on the thicker side, simply add more starchy pasta water to thin it out (or plain water as well). If it’s too thin, you can reduce it for longer on the stove (raise the heat slightly as well).

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Penne a la Vodka is comfort food at its best: luscious and creamy and utterly delicious. I love adding fresh garlic for great flavor, as well as nutty Parmesan cheese but feel free to add in what you love.
5 from 3 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion , or shallot
  • chilli flakes, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic , finely diced
  • cup vodka
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, plain
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 350 grams penne pasta

Instructions 

  • In a skillet on medium heat add the olive oil and heat it up. Add the onions or shallot and sauté until translucent. Add the chilli flakes and garlic and give it a stir.
  • Pour in the vodka and make sure you cook it off completely. Once it has cooked off you can add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and salt to taste.
  • Cover with a lid and let it reduce for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat. Add as much heavy cream as you like and Parm and give it a stir.
  • Keep the heat on low and let it simmer and thicken while you cook your pasta.
  • Cook the pasta of choice in boiling salted water until al dente and once it’s done you can add it into your pan with a little bit of the starchy cooking water. Give it a stir, and enjoy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 1103kcal, Carbohydrates: 148g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 2268mg, Potassium: 995mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 1453IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 324mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Love This Recipe?
Share your pictures or videos of you making my recipes by mentioning #themodernnonna on all socials ❤️

Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I recently made this and it was phenomenal! It turned out even better than the one at my local restaurant that I have ordered probably 10 times before. Thank you!