Penne al la Vodka Recipe: This Italian Pasta Dinner Is Ready in Under 30 by Jan Mostrom

Penne al la Vodka Recipe: This Italian Pasta Dinner Is Ready in Under 30

I made this delicious penne pasta recipe for dinner the other night. This penne a la vodka recipe is such a simple meal to throw together at the last minute. The creamy Italian dinner can be made with whatever pasta you have on hand – we often use gluten-free chickpea pasta to add more protein – and would be delicious with the addition of cooked chicken or a vegetable. It makes a bounty of sauce that might just be enough for your lunch tomorrow, too!

To make this budget-friendly pasta with homemade vodka sauce you will need the following ingredients: pasta (fresh or dry), garlic, onion, butter, olive oil, vodka, tomato puree or sauce, fresh tomato, heavy cream or half and half, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh basil, for garnishing.

Serve this easy pasta recipe for dinner with your favorite side dishes.

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Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound (16 ounces) penne
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • 1 can (14 ounces) tomato puree or tomato sauce
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

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Recipe Notes

  • Rigatoni, fusilli, rotini or bowties are great options for this pasta recipe, but use your favorite.
  • Store any leftover pasta in an airtight food container.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions. (That is usually about 1 minute less than the recommended package cooking time. With gluten-free pasta, many times it's 2 minutes less.) Drain, put back in pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  2. Place a saucepan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter and olive oil. When melted, add the onions and garlic and stir until soft. Remove pan from any open flame and gently add the vodka and return to the stove on medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid a bit.
  3. Add the tomato puree or tomato sauce. If you are adding fresh tomato, add it here and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and add salt, black pepper and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Taste the sauce to adjust the seasonings. Add the last 1 tablespoon of butter and stir until melted.
  5. Place the pasta into a medium serving bowl and pour the sauce on top, or just add the pasta to the saucepan. (I like to add the sauce on top to see how much sauce I want to use, but either version works great. If you're not having guests, adding pasta to the sauce reduces the cleanup!) Serve with a generous grating of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 563

Total Fat: 17.8g

Saturated Fat: 8.6g

Cholesterol: 102mg

Sodium: 141mg

Total Carbohydrate: 69.6g

Dietary Fiber: 3.8g

Total Sugars: 9.3g

Protein: 14.9g

Vitamin D: 5mcg

Calcium: 106mg

Iron: 6mg

Potassium: 1018mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
I love simple Italian meals like this. I might drown it in Parmesan, tho, haha!

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