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Penne Alla Vodka

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This Penne alla Vodka recipe is the perfect blend of tomato, heavy cream, garlic, and onions simmered together to make a unique, pink sauce.

It’s Wednesday!! Yay! Halfway through the week.  Just two more days until the weekend. I’m already making my list of recipes for next week.

I tend to get a little over ambitious and try to cook too many things. However, some sort of pasta dish is always on this menu.

For example, some nights we make our slow cooker creamy chicken pasta.

Two bowls of penne alla vodka with a white linen.

I invite you to give this penne alla vodka recipe a try to see just how simple it is to prepare this delicious pasta dish.

How to Make Penne alla Vodka:

First, gather all the ingredients needed and prep them in bowls or cups. Go ahead and chop the garlic and onions.

Next, cook your pasta noodles, per the box instructions but keep about a 1/2 cup of pasta water to use in the vodka sauce if it’s too thick.

Top-down shot of the butter, Parmesan, tomato sauce and other pasta ingredients in bowls used for penne alla vodka.

Starting the Vodka Sauce:

Now, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together in a large saucepan. Then, add the garlic, onions, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Cook everything over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Afterward, add 1 cup of vodka.  

If you are working with an open flame, turn off the flame before pouring the vodka.

The butter, oil, garlic, onions, and vodka all cooking in large sauce pan.

Finishing the Pasta Sauce:

Please note, it’s important to let the alcohol cook out of the vodka before adding other ingredients. Otherwise, your sauce will taste boozy.

That boozy taste is great in a vodka cranberry cocktail, but it’s not so tasty in penne alla vodka.

Then, let the vodka sauce cook for about 15 minutes and then add the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper.

Top down view of tomato sauce in a sauce pan being used for penne all vodka.

After the tomato sauce has cooked for an additional 5 minutes, remove it from the heat for 7-10 minutes to cool.

It’s time to add the heavy cream. Be sure your sauce isn’t too hot or the sauce will break!

The heavy cream has been added to the vodka sauce as it simmers.

Final Touches on the Sauce:

Now, go ahead and simmer the sauce over low heat for 4-5 minutes. Don’t let it boil or the cream will break.

Last, add the noodles to the sauce and toss them to coat everything evenly.

If the sauce is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

The finished pasta recipe in the sauce pan, ready to be plated and garnished.

Tips for the Best Penne alla Vodka:

  • Please go easy on the vodka and be sure to give it time to cook down.
  • Feel free to use gluten-free noodles.
  • You can use a jarred sauce then add vodka and cream for similar results.
  • Add cooked chicken or pancetta to create hearty penne alla vodka recipe.
Penne alla vodka in white bowls and topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

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Two bowls of penne alla vodka with a white linen.

Penne Alla Vodka

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Penne Alla Vodka recipe is the perfect blend of tomato, heavy cream, garlic, and onions simmered together to make a unique, pink sauce.


  • 12 - 16 ounces of penne noodles cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of vodka
  • 1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated parmesan for serving


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter and olive oil together in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onions are translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the vodka and allow the alcohol to cook out, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Don't allow the sauce to become too hot or cream could break or curdle.
  7. Bring sauce to a simmer again and remove from heat.
  8. Combine sauce with noodles and toss to coat.
  9. Top with grated parmesan and serve immediately.
  10. Enjoy!


The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients and a 2-ounce serving of cooked pasta. Actual calories may vary.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 493Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 19gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 696mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g

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