Penne pasta with vodka sauce


When I first heard about penne pasta with vodka sauce, I couldn't really get excited about it... I’m not a big drinker, so it sounded like a great way to ruin pasta and give yourself a headache.

Penne Pasta With Vodka Sauce

But I was wrong. Instead of making your head steam and keeping you in bed the next morning, this ‘penne alla vodka’ recipe actually burns off most of its alcohol during cooking, leaving you with a beautifully creamy bowl of pasta pleasure.

So why add vodka? Well it’s tricky to explain... it seems to give the creamy taste a little hidden depth. It doesn’t taste boozy as such, it just has a hidden strength. Tell you what... you make it, then tell me how you’d describe it!

Serves 2

Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose 'Save target/link as' to save the list for later.)

200g/7oz penne pasta (or similar, my pic shows rigatini)

½ small onion

400g/14oz can of plum tomatoes

2 shots of vodka (1 per person serving)

Extra virgin olive oil


200ml/6.5 fl oz full-fat cream

Optional: Handful of basil leaves

Optional: Teaspoon of tomato pasta/purée

Optional: 1 fresh chilli


Pasta pan

Frying pan with lid

STEP 1 - Boil kettle and get pan of pasta water going on low heat. Now finely chop onion, and rinse and tear basil leaves.

- In frying pan, cover half its base with oil. Fry onion (and optional torn basil leaves & sliced chilli) on medium heat hob until onion softens and goes slighty brown (5-7 mins), stirring regularly.

STEP 2 - Now add full tin of toms, tomato paste, pinch of pepper and salt (1 pinch per plum tomato). Cover with lid and cook on same heat until toms soften (5 mins).

- When soft, break up toms with spoon, add the vodka, remove lid and simmer for 15-20 mins, stirring regularly. The sauce should lose its liquidity and the alcohol will also evaporate.

STEP 3 - Half-way through sauce’s cooking time, get pasta water boiling, add good handful of salt, and start pasta cooking.

STEP 4 - When sauce has thickened and lost acidity, add the cream and stir thoroughly until pink. Drain pasta and mix sauce through.


Enjoyed this penne pasta with vodka sauce?

You might also like...

• This equally creamy pasta with ricotta

• This easy, creamy penne pasta with bacon

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