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Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka is an extremely simple dish that became popular in the 1980's. It can be made in less than 15 minutes with near no prep time.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Penne Alla Vodka
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 400 Grams Penne Pasta
  • 400 Grams Canned Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Shallots
  • 3 Cloves garlic
  • 1 Tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbsp Vodka
  • 1/2 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt for the pasta water
  • Curly Parsley garnish


  • In a pot begin to boil heavily salted water. Heavily salted. Like...the ocean. Add in the Penne and follow the boiling instructions on the package.
  • In a hot pan melt the butter and add the minced shallot. When translucent add in the crushed garlic. Wait 20 seconds or so watching carefully not to burn the garlic, then add in the can of tomatoes and black pepper.
  • Smash the tomatoes in the pan using the back of a wooden spoon and lower the heat to medium. Add the vodka and stir. Add in the Heavy Cream and continue stirring.
  • By now the Penne should be fully cooked. Scoop a tablespoon of the starchy salty pasta water into the sauce, drain the pasta, then add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss to mix.
  • Plate the pasta and grate over your preferred amount of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Sprinkle some curly parsley as garnish


You may notice that there isn't added salt in this recipe. The reason for this is as long as you properly salt the water the pasta will boil in, the dish will be perfectly salted. This is why you should only add 1 tbsp of the pasta water to the cooking sauce.