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Penne alla Vodka in a white bowl garnished with chopped parsley
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5 from 47 votes

Penne alla Vodka

My easy-to-make Penne alla Vodka is a rich creamy tomato sauce that takes pasta dishes to a whole other level of decadent deliciousness
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian - American
Servings: 4
Calories: 750kcal


  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp shallots minced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 16 oz San Marzano tomatoes - crushed a little more or a little less is okay, depending upon the size of the can or jar
  • cup heavy cream add an additional cream if you like a creamier sauce
  • cup Romano cheese grated - add more cheese if you want a cheesier sauce.
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian parsley finely chopped for garnish (optional)


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.
    Drain the pasta well reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking water.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet.
  • Add the garlic and shallots to the pan over medium-low heat. Although them to cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Stir as needed.
  • Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes, mixing them in and continue cooking for an additional minute or two.
  • Remove the pan from the burner and add the vodka to the pan. Vodka can ignite with high heat.
    *This is usually only a problem with gas heat, but it's better to be safe when adding any alcohol to a hot pan.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and mix well. Bring the sauce to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook the sauce for 10 minutes stirring the mixture occasionally.
  • Add the heavy cream and Romano cheese to the sauce and mix until smooth. Continue to simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.
    *Don't let the sauce cook too long or the cheese will start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the basil to the sauce and reseason the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick add more pasta water to the sauce.
  • Serve and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and additonal grated cheese.


Calories: 750kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 577mg | Potassium: 986mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1559IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 235mg | Iron: 4mg