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Penne Alla Vodka

This classic Penne Alla Vodka recipe is easy to make with simple ingredients and the most flavorful vodka infused tomato sauce. Prosciutto, tomato paste, simple seasonings, flavor enhancers, and cream take this over the top!

A bowl of Penne Alla Vodka with parsley on top.

 

Penne Alla Vodka

This Penne Alla Vodka recipe is something that I have been spending years perfecting. It’s my husband’s all-time favorite dish, and I can confidently give it the restaurant quality stamp of approval!

Prosciutto which sets the tone for optimum results by infusing flavor onto the skillet and into the sauce. It’s then deglazed with vodka which is reduced down to serve its purpose of enhancing the other flavors in the dish.

We then create a delicious tomato base which is accompanied by my favorite seasonings, flavor enhancers, and cream which counteracts the acidity of the tomatoes nicely. And finally, the penne and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Have I convinced you yet? 😉

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Sauté prosciutto in a skillet with olive oil until crisp. Set aside and roughly chop. Deglaze skillet with vodka and reduce by half. Add butter and garlic.

Prosciutto in a skillet next to a skillet with butter and garlic.

Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, honey, hot sauce, seasonings, cooked prosciutto, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer while you cook the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente. (Reserve some pasta water when draining.)

Adding seasonings and crushed tomatoes to vodka sauce.

 Add the cream and stir until combined.

Adding cream to vodka sauce in a skillet.

Add the cooked penne and stir to combine. Add pasta water as needed to control the consistency. It will allow the pasta to cling to the sauce and adds a smooth finish.

Optional: Remove from heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of cold butter prior to serving. This adds a sparkly finish and is a technique called “monte au beurre”. 

Adding penne to vodka sauce to make Penne Alla Vodka.

Pro Tips

  • Prosciutto: This is a great way to add “fond” to the skillet which is deglazed with vodka for superior flavor. Pancetta makes a good substitute. You could also try a little ham or bacon.
  • Penne: I use Penne Lisce for this recipe simply because I like the way it looks without ridges for this recipe. Penne Rigate can be used as well, which has ridges to help grip the sauce.
  • Tomato Paste: I use tomato paste tubes to measure smaller amounts, you can store the tubes in the fridge for zero waste!
  • Grate the cheese from a block as it will taste much better than packaged grated cheese. I use Belgioioso Parmesan cheese.
  • Hot Sauce and Honey are flavor enhancers in this sauce that you can’t taste outright. I use Frank’s hot sauce and it won’t make it spicy.
  • Optional additions include: Diced tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and spinach!
  • Baked Meatballs and Garlic Bread with Cheese are a great side dish with this dish.
  • Meatless: To make this meatless, omit the prosciutto and use vegetable broth/bouillon instead of chicken.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers freeze/reheat well, just be sure not to overcook the pasta the first time around.
  • For even better results, freeze the sauce by itself and boil fresh pasta for serving.

Penne Alla Vodka in a White Bowl with a spoon on the side.

 

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A white bowl of Penne Alla Vodka with parsley on top.

Penne Alla Vodka

4.95 from 18 ratings
This classic Penne Alla Vodka recipe is easy to make with simple ingredients and the most flavorful vodka infused tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ lb. Prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup vodka
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated. For serving

Seasonings

  • ¾ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For Serving

  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Instructions

Prep Work

  • Measure out all ingredients before beginning.
  • Take a measuring cup (1 cup or larger) and place it in the colander that you’ll use to drain your pasta, this will remind you to save some of the pasta water when that step arrives.

Make the Sauce/Pasta

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat and add the prosciutto. Cook until it begins to brown, 2-3 minutes, then set aside and roughly chop once cooled.
  • Turn the heat off and add the vodka. Set the heat to medium and use a silicone spatula to clean the bottom and sides of the skillet (there may not be a ton of remnants from the meat, that’s okay)! Let it bubble gently and reduce by half, about 4-5 minutes (or until you can no longer smell alcohol).
  • Add the butter and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, honey, hot sauce, seasonings, and cooked prosciutto. Stir to combine.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it bubble gently and reduce, partially covered while you start to boil salted water for the pasta.
  • Once a boil is reached, cook the penne for 1 minute less than al dente. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
  • Reduce heat to low. Stir the cream into the sauce until combined, then add the cooked penne and stir to combine.
  • Add pasta water as needed to control the consistency. It will add a creamy finish and help the pasta cling onto the sauce.
  • Remove from heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of cold butter prior to serving. (This is optional, it adds a smooth, sparkly finish.)
  • Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese!

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Prosciutto: This is a great way to add "fond" to the skillet which is deglazed with vodka for superior flavor. Pancetta makes a good substitute. You could also try a little ham or bacon.
  • Penne: I use Penne Lisce for this recipe simply because I like the way it looks without ridges for this recipe. Penne Rigate can be used as well, which has ridges to help grip the sauce.
  • Tomato Paste: I use tomato paste tubes to measure smaller amounts, you can store the tubes in the fridge for zero waste!
  • Grate the cheese from a block as it will taste much better than packaged grated cheese. I use Belgioioso Parmesan cheese.
  • Hot Sauce and Honey are flavor enhancers in this sauce that you can't taste outright. I use Frank's hot sauce and it won't make it spicy.
  • Optional additions include: Diced tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and spinach!
  • Baked Meatballs and Garlic Bread with Cheese are a great side dish with this dish.
  • Meatless: To make this meatless, omit the prosciutto and use vegetable broth/bouillon instead of chicken.

Storage:
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers freeze/reheat well, just be sure not to overcook the pasta the first time around.
  • For even better results, freeze the sauce by itself and boil fresh pasta for serving.

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving. There are 6 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 665kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 653mg, Potassium: 709mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1145IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 166mg, Iron: 3mg
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!
This Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken is loaded with perfectly seared chicken, chunky tomatoes, and a creamy marinara vodka sauce. It's topped with Parmesan Shavings and fresh parsley and is a classic family favorite! | The Cozy Cook | #penne #vodkasauce #pasta #comfortfood #dinner

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57 comments on “Penne Alla Vodka”

  1. Made this for Christmas eve this year and it was wonderful! Amazing flavor.

  2. Love it, I add scallops and shrimp to this dish

  3. This sauce was so delicious and luxurious!  I have made penne alla vodka before, but with a quick tomato paste sauce – which never produced enough sauce in my opinion.  This recipe however was fantastic. The slow cooking of the sauce provided a phenomenal depth of flavor, and just enough heat. So delicious (and easy!).  We devoured it.  Thanks for another great recipe!! 

  4. I make this pasta at least once every two weeks, it is so easy yet so delicious!! I started adding fresh burrata with the pasta and it compliments it so well!  Thank you!

    • You’re very welcome Autumn! I’m so happy you’re enjoying this recipe. My husband loves this one too. Adding fresh burrata is such a great idea!🙌 Thanks so much for the great comments and review!

  5. I tried this a few months ago and it was DELICIOUS! I’m thinking of making a double recipe tonight to save the other half to freeze for dinners next week. How much cooking time would be added to the simmering step with a double recipe?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hey Emily! That is a great idea! The sauce will take longer to come up to temperature since there are double the ingredients but once it starts simmering, the reduction time will be fairly similar, maybe 10 minutes longer, and then of course you’ll judge the consistency after that point and can decide if you’d prefer to simmer longer or if it’s reached your desired thickness. 🙂

  6. This is such an amazing recipe, it’s amazing how all my kids love it! I use a hand blender to blend the tomatoes in the can and it makes it super easy!

    • That’s a great idea with the tomatoes! It’s funny, I think this one is way more kid friendly than people realize. My 5 year old daughter loves it! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!😍

  7. This recipe is delicious and so easy to make. I usually toss in some grilled chicken slices. It’s become a real favorite in our household. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re very welcome Laura! Adding chicken sounds delicious!😋 My husband loves this recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  8. Delicious! I was always intimidated about making my own vodka sauce. This recipe was easy to follow, and DELICIOUS. Another hit as always. Thank you!

  9. The absolute best vodka sauce we’ve ever had. Will be making this often. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • I am so happy to hear that Teri, I was thinking of making it again this week and I think you just sealed the deal for me, haha! We love it too, it’s my husband’s all-time favorite. Thank you SO much for the review!!! -Stephanie

  10. This is the best recipe ever! My roommates and I have been eating this a lot recently. This is the perfect comfort meal, and we have plenty of leftovers 🙂

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