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A bowl of penne pasta with vodka sauce
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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Penne alla Vodka Recipe

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!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sauces
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword pasta a la vodka, Penne alla vodka, penne alla vodka recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 482kcal


  • 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


Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 1mg