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Penne alla Vodka Sauce

Growing up, penne alla vodka was my favourite pasta dish to order. Penna alla vodka sauce is not too rich, like an alfredo sauce, and not too sweet, like a marinara sauce — it’s a perfect balance between the two.

One of the great things about this Penne alla vodka sauce recipe is how quick and easy it is to put together, especially if you cook the pasta and simmer the sauce at the same time.  It makes for a quick dinner idea!

Passata is an uncooked tomato puree with seeds and skins strained out. It usually comes in a glass bottle and can be found next to the jarred pasta sauces at your local grocery store. If you can’t find passata, use canned whole tomatoes — just be sure to crush the tomatoes with your hands before you add them to the sauce — this will give the penne alla vodka sauce a nice texture.

This is easy pasta recipe is a great meal to make when entertaining. Penne alla Vodka is quick and easy to prepare, looks delectable on a plate.


Penne alla Vodka Sauce

Penne alla Vodka Sauce


4 strips of bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup vodka
1 jar (22 oz) passata (or canned whole tomatoes)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 (454 g) pound penne pasta
1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon; cook, stirring occasionally until bacon looks just cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vodka, stirring with a wooden spoon, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits.
  5. Add passata and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 13 minutes. Stir in cream.
  6. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook until just cooked, about 9 to 10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water. Drain pasta.
  7. Add pasta to sauce, cook and stir until pasta absorbs some of the sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick, loosen it with some of the reserved pasta water. Season with salt, pepper, green onion and Parmesan cheese.

Penne alla Vodka Sauce Tips:

  • Use scissors to cut the bacon into bits before cooking. It’s easier to slice bacon with scissors than a knife.
  • Add your pasta to the water while the sauce is cooking so they’ll finish at the same time.
  • Use only heavy cream (35%) in this recipe to give the sauce a smooth consistency. Using lighter cream will make the sauce look speckled and uneven.
  • 1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, can be substituted for passata.
  • Try substituting minced fresh basil or parsley for green onion.
  • Make this penne alla vodka sauce recipe vegetarian by omitting the bacon and adding 1 extra tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cut the fat in this recipe by reducing the cream to ¼ cup and reducing portion size. If you serve smaller portions of pasta with 2 healthy sides, you are going to have a very satisfying meal – just no going back for seconds! My two suggestions for palate-cleansing side dishes are steamed asparagus with lemon juice and a simple green salad.

One comment

  1. yI love to watch ur show. I got ur alfrado sauce. Watching u once. And now I make it regularly .