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Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta


  • 1 pound penne pasta cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 each medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 fluid ounces vodka
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish


  • Cook the pasta until it is al dente and reserve.
  • In a large sauté pan or sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the finely chopped onion. Sauté the onion until it is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Once the onions are soft, but not colored, add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, vodka, and crushed red pepper flakes and bring to a low simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to slightly reduce and the alcohol flavor to mellow.
  • Stir in the cream and the salt bring back to a very low simmer. Do not allow the sauce to boil or the cream and tomato could separate.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as needed.
  • Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta. Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.


If you’d like to add chicken to make this a heartier main course meal, after sautéing the onion add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 2” chunks. Cook until the chicken begins to brown and then proceed in the recipe with adding the garlic and then the tomato sauce, etc.