This Penne Alla Vodka recipe has the most delicious silky and rich tomato vodka cream sauce. This easy to make vodka pasta is perfectly seasoned and comes together in less than 30 minutes!
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Penne Alla Vodka Recipe
Pasta with vodka sauce may sound a little odd at first but, this hearty pasta recipe is both simple and wonderfully delicious.
If you don’t drink alcohol or if you have small children, don’t worry! The alcohol in the vodka cooks off – leaving you with a unique, mouthwatering and flavorful sauce.
Classic penne a la vodka is obviously made with penne pasta however, you can use any pasta shape you like or have in your pantry. Other pasta shapes like rigatoni are great tossed with the creamy tomatoey sauce.
Vodka Pasta Sauce
This vodka sauce is simple, easy to make and has amazing flavor. The combination of tomatoes, vodka, garlic, spices, cream and fresh herbs is pure perfection.
As I mentioned earlier, the alcohol in the vodka completely cooks off leaving behind the most vibrant sauce with deep and rich tomato flavor.
Once the alcohol cooks off, the freshness of the tomato and herbs intensifies allowing each ingredient to shine. The addition of cream turns this tomato sauce into the best silky, creamy, rich and full flavored vodka sauce recipe.
Penne Alla Vodka Ingredients
- Canned Tomatoes: I use San Marzano whole plum tomatoes. The flavor is amazing and the quality can’t be beat!
- Aromatics: I use brown or yellow onions and fresh garlic cloves.
- Vodka: I use good quality vodka however, if you don’t drink alcohol and only use it for cooking, you don’t have to get top shelf vodka. Also buy a small bottle which you can keep in the freezer for cooking only.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds depths of flavor and a rich red hue to the sauce.
- Seasonings: Dried oregano, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Red pepper flakes add a nice kick to the dish. Add as much or as little s you wish.
- Heavy Cream: Also sold as heavy whipping cream.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs are added at the end to add freshness to the sauce. You can skip them if you don’t have fresh herbs available.
- Pasta: Traditionally, penne is the pasta of choice. Other small pasta shapes like rigatoni also work well. Tubular pasta holds the sauce nicely.
- Grated Cheese: In my opinion, adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese always make any pasta dish taste better. Pecorino Romano is also a good option when serving Italian food.
How To Make Pasta with Vodka Sauce
- Sauté the Aromatics: Cook the onions until they softened. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook for just a minute. Season lightly with salt and ground black pepper.
- Add Vodka: Add the vodka and allow it to simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half.
- Add Tomatoes and Simmer: Add the tomato paste and the whole tomatoes and their liquid Bring to a simmer and cook stirring often while crushing the tomatoes roughly with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the Cream: Stir in the heavy cream and mix to combine.
- Blend: Transfer the sauce to a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth.
- Cook the Pasta: Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water then, drain the pasta and set aside.
- Finish the Vodka Sauce: Return the sauce to the pot and simmer over low heat, partially covered for about 6-8 minutes. Season to taste.
- Toss and Serve: Add the pasta to the sauce, a bit of the reserved pasta water. Mix until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. If the sauce thickens too much, add additional pasta water. Remove from the heat and serve garnished with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese (optional).
Is There Vodka In Penne Alla Vodka?
Yes, vodka sauce is indeed made with real vodka. The alcohol in the vodka completely cooks off when simmering and reducing the sauce making this recipe kid-friendly and alcohol-free!
Can You Freeze Vodka Pasta Sauce?
Yes, vodka sauce freezes well. Store the sauce (without the pasta) in an airtight container or a freezer-safe resealable bag and freeze for about 2 months. Thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
Storing The Pasta Sauce
To store creamy tomato vodka sauce, first cool the sauce completely then, store in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Leftover pasta already mixed with the sauce can be stored the same way however, the pasta may get a bit dry. Reheat in the microwave, in a preheated 300 degrees oven covered or on a skillet.
XX Recipe Tips
Take A Look At These Other Pasta Recipes:
- Mac and Cheese Carbonara
- One Pot Pizza Pasta
- Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
- One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
Tuesday #SummerGamesWeek Recipes
- Japanese Curry representing Japan by House of Nash Eats
- Ginger Salad Dressing representing Japan by Devour Dinner
- Fried Polenta representing Italy by That Recipe
- Beetroot Salata representing Sudan by Magical Ingredients
- Fluffernutter Blondies representing the USA by The Spiffy Cookie
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounces) can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces tubed pasta like penne or rigatoni
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
- Chopped fresh basil or parsley to garnish optional
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 4 -5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook for just a minute. Season lightly with salt and ground black pepper.1 small yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Add the vodka and simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half.½ cup vodka
- Add the tomato paste and the whole tomatoes and their liquid into the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook stirring often while crushing the tomatoes roughly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 (28-ounces) can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes
- Stir in the heavy cream and mix to combine.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water then, drain the pasta and set aside.12 ounces tubed pasta like penne or rigatoni
- Return the sauce to the pot and simmer over low heat, partially covered for about 6-8 minutes. Season to taste.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Cook stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. If the sauce thickens too much, add additional pasta water.
- Remove from the heat and stir the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately sprinkled with extra Parmesan cheese and garnished with fresh basil or parsley (if desired).½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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