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5 from 11 ratings

Penne Alla Vodka

This classic penne alla vodka recipe has a perfect blend of creamy marinara sauce and just the right amount of vodka. It's easy to add chicken and makes a great freezer food!


  • 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated


  • Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and becomes quite thick, not exactly paste-like, but almost. We're going to thin it out with the cream.
  • During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
  • Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.
  • Season with salt/pepper if desired.
  • Add in the drained pasta.
  • Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!


PRO TIP: For increased depth of flavor, add 1/3 pound Pancetta or Prosciutto. Cook that in the pan first with just a drop of olive oil. Heat until it is just about crisp, then add the garlic and proceed as outlined from there.

Meal Prep Tip: Double this recipe and freeze the sauce for easy weeknight dinners!

Note: Don't be tempted to add more vodka than the recipe calls for, doing so will ruin the flavors instead of enhancing them. (Very important.)


Calories: 711kcal, Carbohydrates: 87g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 183mg, Potassium: 305mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1054IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 131mg, Iron: 2mg