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Penne Alla Vodka Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian


Pasta in vodka sauce is a really easy ‘from scratch’ sauce to make with your most basic ingredients. Plus it’s on the table in about 25 minutes or less.


  • 1 pound penne, rigatoni, or ziti
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (about 4.5 ounces)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons vodka
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 34 chopped fresh basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes or until very tender. Do not burn!
  3. Add tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and vodka. Stir until paste fully coats the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add 1 cup of pasta water. Stir until smooth. Bring sauce to a simmer, add cream, and turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold in the pasta until fully coated in the sauce. Add parmesan cheese and continue to toss/mix.
  5. Add additional reserved pasta water as needed (a little at a time) if the sauce is too thick. I like a creamy sauce that is just thick enough to really coat the pasta without being too runny. I usually just do 1 cup total.
  6. Serve garnished with more Parmesan and chopped fresh basil.


You can skip the vodka altogether if you don’t have any or don’t want to add. I would NOT substitute for any other spirit in its place.


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 624
  • Sugar: 4.1g
  • Sodium: 430mg
  • Fat: 26.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 72.9g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 19.2g
  • Cholesterol: 136mg

Keywords: vodka sauce pasta, pasta alla vodka, vodka pasta, penne vodka pasta


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