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penne alla vodka
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5 from 25 votes

Penne alla Vodka

This creamy pasta with vodka is a vintage recipe from the 1970s and 80s that has become really popular and trendy in the last few years. It's easy to make, yet special enough to serve on date nights and to guests.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Italian-American, Mediterranean
Keyword: alla vodka, authentic Italian pasta recipe, Italian recipe, penne, vodka sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 840kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 350 g penne (12oz) or rigatoni. I used whole grain penne from Mancini
  • 200 g pancetta (7oz) diced
  • 1 small onion peeled and chopped
  • 300 g tomato passata (10.5oz)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 150 ml Fresh cream (5floz) or Italian heavy cream (panna da cucina)
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 2-3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon peperoncino flakes (red chili pepper) or as required
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to serve
  • Parmigiano Reggiano grated as required


Prepare ingredients

  • Peel and chop the onion, dice the pancetta if it’s in one piece. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.

Make the sauce

  • Cook the onion in a large skillet with olive oil until it becomes transparent. Add the diced pancetta and brown it. Deglaze with the vodka over a high heat and let the alcohol evaporate. Add the red chili pepper and then add the cherry tomato halves and cook until they soften slightly.
  • Add tomato passata and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Add salt to taste. Add the cream and mix the ingredients together carefully.

Cook the pasta

  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Once the pasta is ready, save a cup of cooking water and drain.

Finish the dish

  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix together well. If you think your sauce is too dry, add a little pasta cooking water. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmigiano (if required).


Calories: 840kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 792mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1164IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg