Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Penne pasta with vodka sauce is made with ingredients such as whipping cream, tomato, red pepper, fresh parsley, fresh ground pepper, and Parmesan cheese, penne pasta with vodka sauce. It is simply delicious. Certain flavors can only be released when alcohol is introduced to many recipes. This is certainly the case with this dish. Ninety nine percent of the alcohol is reduced through the cooking process, however. This recipe is simple, yet rich and zesty. It is a must try in any kitchen.

Penne pasta with vodka sauce recipe

  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 plump fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on taste)
  • 28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes (whole peeled) in juice
  • 1 lb Italian penne pasta, dried
  • 2-4 T vodka
  • 1/4-1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 c + flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


  1. In an unheated saute pan large enough to hold the pasta, combine the oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium heat until garlic turns golden but not brown, 2-3 minutes.
  2. With your hands, coarsely crush the tomatoes in a bowl with the juices. I always use whole tomatoes as opposed to diced as I want to be sure the tomatoes are plum or roma and not a mixture of different tomatoes that vary in water content. Add to the oil, garlic mixture and stir to blend. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 3 T sea salt (Italian chefs say, the water should taste like the sea) and the pasta, stir. Cook until tender but firm to the bite about 2-3 minutes less than package instructions. Pasta will cook more in the sauce so do not overcook. Drain thoroughly.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add the vodka and toss again. Add the cream and toss again. Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes allowing pasta to absorb the sauce. Add the parsley, reserving a small amount, and toss thoroughly.
  5. Transfer to warm shallow bowls or a warmed pasta platter, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.
Spinach Sausage and Cheese Manicotti

Traditionally, cheese is not served with this dish but you can add some Parmiagiano-Reggiano on the top if desired.

Don’t want to buy a large bottle of vodka? Those small airplane size bottles, available at most liquor stores, are just the exact amount.

This is a plate of food that will chase the blues away. I hope you find this dish comforting to your body and soul. I would love to hear from you.

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