A Pasta Alla Vodka Recipe For Any Night Of The Week

I loooooove penne alla vodka. Love. Love. Love. Perfect pasta noodles with rich tangy creamy sauce. What could possibly be wrong about everything I just said? Whenever I go to Italian restaurants, my eyes scan the menu and light up every time I see it on the menu. However, those Italian restaurant trips are too few and far between these days so what do you do when the craving hits? Well, you make this penne alla vodka recipe.

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What do you need for this penne alla vodka recipe?

Pasta: Penne is the original pasta for this dish, but rigatoni (pictured above) are the best for this dish

Pancetta: This gives the dish a hardiness but is totally optional if you don’t have it or if you don’t eat eat.

Onion & Garlic: The base to every good Italian meal

Tomato paste: tomato paste in a tube or can works!

Heavy cream: give the dish it’s creamy texture

Parmesan cheese: everything is better with cheese

Herbs: added flavor

Red pepper flakes: gives the dish a little kick

penne alla vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 4 oz of pancetta, diced (optional)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp vodka 
  • 1 lb of pasta (penne or rigatoni)
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano 
  • basil 


  1. In a 12-inch skillet, cook your pancetta until crispy over medium heat. Then, add the butter. Once butter is melted, add shallots or onion and cook until translucent. Then, add garlic. In the meantime, boil water for your pasta. Salt your water heavily. Cook pasta and once it's is done (al dente) reserve your pasta water and drain your noodles.
  2. Add your tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pancetta/onion/garlic mixture. Stir until the tomato paste has covered all ingredients.
  3. Deglaze the pan with vodka and stir together.
  4. Add your cream and parmesan cheese to vodka sauce. Mix together until the sauce slowly begins to turn orange. Slowly add your pasta water, 1 tbsp at a time, to loosen the sauce. You likely won't need the whole cup.
  5. Pour in your pasta and mix together to cover all the noodles in the sauce.
  6. Add more parmesan cheese and top with basil.
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