Italian/ Main Dishes

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka

I had heard about Penne Alla Vodka long before I decided to give it a shot. Perhaps it was my not so fond memories involving vodka that we won’t really go into detail about here, that prevented me from trying it. But my 21st birthday aside, I gave it a shot recently and fell in love with it. The vodka is not over-powering but compliments the tomatoes, cream and bacon, yes bacon, very nicely.

We’ve all heard it before: everything is better with bacon. Well, maybe not everything, but most things. Take this pasta for instance, I decided to add bacon to this recipe because I love the smoky flavor and the little bit of crunch that it adds to the sauce. With that said, I know that not everyone thinks that everything is better with bacon. If you are vegetarian or (gasp!) don’t like bacon, simply omit the bacon and substitute 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the bacon drippings.

Penne Alla Vodka

Print Recipe
Serves 4 - 6 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices bacon, diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 basil leaves, rolled together and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt

Instructions

1

In a large pan cook bacon over medium heat until browned, about 5 โ€“ 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate and set aside.

2

Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings. Add onions, garlic and crushed red pepper to reserved bacon drippings and cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes. Pour in vodka. Cook 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.

4

After sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, whisk 1 tablespoon of sauce into cream to temper it. Slowly stir tempered cream into the tomato sauce. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine.

5

Return bacon to the pasta and stir in basil and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

6

Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers.

Notes

Enjoy!

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  • thank for recipe

  • I’ve made a recipe like this before and absolutely loved it. Since then I have quit drinking and don’t really wish to buy a bottle of vodka for the sole purpose of making one recipe. Any idea? Could I just leave it out or is there some magical substitute that would do that trick. Thanks!

  • I love pasta.

    Absolutely love it.

    This is a very interesting photograph. Reminds me of the 8 inspirational pasta shots I saw couple of weeks back.

    Thank you for sharing, Neel

  • That is one of my favorite dishes when we go to Italian restaurants! I should try making it at home as it does seem to be a simple enough recipe. Your photo is gorgeous!

  • Vodka and tomatoes!? That sounds crazy….I’m going to have to try this out ;)

  • Thank you everyone for your comments! Caryn- There really isn’t a magical substitute. If you leave it out it won’t be penne alla vodka any more but you will still have a delicious creamy, smoky tomato sauce. Or since you only need 1/4 cup you could also buy one of those mini bottles so you wouldn’t have a whole bottle. Hope this helps!

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  • I made this for valentine’s day dinner! It was delicious! I used pancetta instead of bacon and added chicken. So so so so good!

  • Thank you Alicia! I’m glad you liked it and I love the addition of the chicken!

  • Patty

    This is on constant rotation at my house. Such a versatile sauce, I have made it with italian sausage, chicken, pancetta, meatballs and various veggies such as green and red peppers. Thank you!

  • Bel

    Hi, this sounds wonderful just wanted to clarify how much vodka you mean by a 1/4 of a cup?
    Thanks
    B

  • B- 1/4 cup of vodka = 2 ounces. Hope you enjoy the pasta!

  • stef

    In response to Caryn, you can usually find shot size vodka bottles in the liquor store (in Canada anyway), so you can just buy a couple of those instead of a giant bottle!

    -stef

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