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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 20 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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61 comments on “Penne Alla Vodka”

  1. I return again and again to this site to help plan my meals for the week and hands down this is my favorite so far!  Such amazing flavor!  

  2. I liked the idea of this recipe but to me it was a little bland. It didn’t taste bad and many would probably like it, but it wasn’t a personal favorite

    • Hi Victoria! I’m curious, did you use the prosciutto and the chicken bouillon? Those really take this over the top as far as depth of flavor goes! Just wondering if either of those were omitted. I also make sure to salt the pasta water liberally 🙂

  3. Not sure how this will turn out but after three minutes there was nothing left of my vodka in the skillet! Had to add it again and start over. This is going to be the most expensive pasta I’ve ever made!

    • Hi Lori, the instruction is to reduce by half, with an approximate time limit to supplement that. If yours reduced more quickly, you didn’t have to continue to reduce it 🙁 Your heat was probably just higher, heat levels on stove tops do vary, which is why I use an eyeball amount as well. I do hope that you enjoyed it.

  4. This was heavenly.  That sauce was amazing, and the idea of adding the prosciutto was genius!  It brought it to a whole different level.  My family absolutely loved it.  Thank you so much Stephanie!! 

  5. Made this tonight and the family loved it! Easy and delicious! Will definitely be adding it to our dinner rotation.

    • That’s so great to hear Mandy! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review💖

      • Delicious! Made this for the first time tonight and was impressed with the flavor. I will be trying more recipes. Easy but not lacking in flavor by any means.

      • I’m so happy you found it easy and flavorful Jessica! This is pretty much the only meatless meal that my husband will eat. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!💖

  6. Hello! I do love your recipes! I have a question? What type of chicken bullion do you use? Do you use knorr? Thank you! 

    • Hi Donna! So happy that you are enjoying the recipes! I use Better Than Bouillon, it’s great. (And it’s not a solid) – Really easy to measure customized amounts. I use this to make broth as well!

  7. Can you please clarify how much chicken bouillon? Recipe says “1 chicken bouillon”
    Thanks and looks amazing! 

  8. Is it ok if I only have crushed tomatoes?

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