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Penne Alla Vodka (Vodka Cream Pasta)

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Penne Alla Vodka (Vodka Cream Pasta)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x


This Penne Alla Vodka recipe is easy to make, full of rich flavors, and absolutely delicious! Feel free to add some roasted veggies and/or proteins into the dish if you’d like.


  • 12 ounces dried penne pasta (or I used fettuccine)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots or half a medium red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup torn or julienned fresh basil leaves, divided
  • grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a large stockpot of generously-salted water.  Once you reach step 5 below (adding in the heavy cream), add the pasta to the salted water and cook al dente according to package instructions.  Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add shallots (or red onion), and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and continue sauteing for 1-2 more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add vodka, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the sauce reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering for about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by almost half.
  5. Stir in the heavy cream and half (1/4 cup) of the basil.  (<–This is also about the time you should begin cooking the pasta.)  Reduce heat to low and let the sauce continue to simmer until the pasta has cooked.
  6. Once the pasta is ready, return it to the stockpot and pour the sauce on top.  Toss the pasta until it is evenly coated with the sauce.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with the extra basil and Parmesan cheese.

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26 comments on “Penne Alla Vodka (Vodka Cream Pasta)”

  1. Ok, this pasta looks awesome and I want to make it Saturday for V-day! I’m already getting wife Amazon Prime for V-day for a gift so I’m thinking that’s not the most romantic gesture ~ so a scrumptious dinner needs to follow! 

    • That’s awesome Tom — we hope you and your wife love the pasta, and that you have a great Valentine’s Day! :)

  2. This pasta looks seriously amazing!! I am a huge fan of vodka sauce and I can’t wait to try this recipe!!!

  3. Vodka pasta is one of our favorite for Sunday super! Ss always, beautiful pictures, Ali!

  4. YUM! Want to make this now!

  5. I think I’m going to make this for our next pasta night. It looks and sounds delicious.

  6. What a fantastic pasta dish! I cook so many Italian recipes all the time but I must confess that I have never tried this one, it looks so delicious. I can imagine what a fantastic flavour the vodka must give to the sauce. Thank you for the recipe :-)

  7. Hi Ali! I am a French teacher in MI and would LOVE to incorporate The Wash Project as a cultural component for a unit I’m teaching on Global Challenges in my AP French classes. It sounds awesome!

  8. This looks great!  This is one of our favorite dishes – and you’ve reminded me that I should make it again.  Perhaps for Valentine’s Day.  I’m always tweaking the proportions on it.  Can’t wait to try yours.

  9. What a sweet post to post in honor of Valentine’s Day. It’s amazing that your man has such a big heart. :) I can’t believe you traveled with Unbound before you even met him! It’s kismet. <3

  10. Ahhhh this looks like such a romantic dinner for two! How many fresh tomatoes would you recommend in place of canned? 

    • Hi Monica! If you’re using fresh tomatoes, this would equate to about 10-12 whole, peeled tomatoes. We hope you and your valentine enjoy! :)

  11. This looks delicious! I’ve never tried vodka cream before, but I’m looking forward to it! :)

  12. I love how passionate you are! The part about the boyfriend always needing moooore pasta – very recognizable. I wonder how he will like this recipe… Thanks for sharing!

  13. Amazing choice! I tried it yesterday and had to comment it went better than expected :) have you tried doing the recipes that Italian Restaurant Barilla proposes? 
    Would love to hear your opinion, I went the other day and after having a great lunch there decided to try it. 

    Thanks!!! And God bless italian food!


  14. I’ve been craving pasta lately! Vodka sauce is one of my favorites, but I’ve never tried making it from scratch at home before. This recipe makes it sound easy! I can’t wait to give it a shot soon.

  15. Try steeping the red pepper flakes in the vodka ahead of time. An hour will do the trick, but I keep a small jar of red pepper flakes sleeping in vodka in my cupboard at all times for making my version of this dish. You get a deeper flavor from the pepper flakes this way and it spreads evenly through every bite.

  16. This pasta looks brilliant. I always experiment with different ingredients while cooking pasta to get the best taste out of it. Now I can’t wait to make this delicious looking pasta.

  17. This was so delicious. Just like every other recipe we’ve tried from your site! Thank you again for sharing!