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A while bowl with penne pasta in vodka sauce piled high inside

Penne Pasta in Vodka Sauce, aka Penne Alla Vodka

  • Author: Nancy Blackstone
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 Minutes
  • Total Time: 28 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian



1 pound penne pasta

6 tablespoons butter

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup vodka

1 lb.-12 oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon pepper

optional: 8 ounces diced pancetta


  1. In a deep skillet, melt butter. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. If you're using pancetta, you should add it now, too. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add vodka to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes and chopped parsley, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in heavy cream and salt. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  5. While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta to al dente, drain and set aside.
  6. Add parmesan cheese and pepper to the sauce, mix well. Serve over pasta.


You can substitute half and half for heavy cream if you prefer

In place of pancetta, you can add bacon or shrimp

Keywords: Italian main dish, Italian dinners, pasta dinners, vegetarian pasta