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+ servings

Penne Vodka

Penne ala Vodka is one of those recipes you will find yourself making again and again. I enjoy it with pancetta however you can easily make it vegetarian as well.
Course: Entree, pasta
Cuisine: Italian, Italian American
Keyword: penne vodka sauce, vodka penne recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 477kcal


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta you can omit this or add more if you like
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic or 1/2 TBS garlic paste
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes if you enjoy tomato chunks in your sauce, you can use chopped or cut whole tomatoes from can
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (often I add 3/4 cup) or more to taste
  • dash or two of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup decent vodka
  • 10 fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • dash of S&P
  • Optional garnish - shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil for garnish


  • Cook your pancetta in a medium pot until it just begins to crisp, remove and drain on a paper towel.
  • Place oil in the same pot over medium heat, add in chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Add in garlic sauté for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes stirring often.
  • Add in the vodka and allow it to simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
  • Add in red pepper flakes and cream, simmer for just a few minutes until sauce bubbles.
  • Remove from heat and stir in your freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking and more red pepper if you wish.
  • Stir in basil. Set aside until ready to use
  • Serve over cooked penne pasta or your favorite pasta.
  • Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, basil and red pepper flakes.


The better your ingredients the better the dish. 
Use a quality PLAIN vodka you would enjoy in a cocktail (I use Tito's).
If you can use San Marzano tomatoes or use fire roasted tomatoes. They have more depth of flavor.
You can substitute chopped bacon for the pancetta if you like OR leave it out and enjoy this vegetarian.
Fresh basil really does give this sauce great flavor.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1072IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 1mg