Penne alla Vodka

Tender tubes of rigatoni tossed with a tomato, cream and vodka sauce and served with a healthy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Who needs to go out when you can whip up restaurant quality penne alla vodka at home.

Who needs the local Italian restaurant, with their red and white check table cloths and empty bottles of Chianti sporting a lit candle stump*. Not when you can whip up dishes like this in the comfort of your own home, this Penne alla Vodka is so good you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it for years!

*I aint a snob, I bloody love those places and frequent them often.

I’ve wanted to try this dish since I heard about it on Jersey Shore (I know right). The gang were always shouting about vodka sauce and I could never get it out of my head. Once I tried it I understood, it really is a delicious and ridiculously simple meal to whip up. In fact, the sauce comes together in the time it takes to boil your pasta meaning you can have dinner on the table in around 20 minutes. Now that’s some good going!

Some people prefer a smooth sauce when making this dish. I prefer a bit of bite from the onions in my sauce but if you like it the other way, pop that sauce in a blender and blend until smoother than a babies bottom.

Tips for making Penne alla Vodka:

  • Tomatoes – I prefer to use crushed tomatoes rather than chopped as I prefer the flavour. If you use chopped you can blend the sauce till smooth with a hand blender before tossing it in the pasta.
  • Pasta – Any pasta shapes can be used but Penne alla Vodka is traditionally served with tubes. Penne, Rigatoni or Manicotti are my favourites.
  • Extras – Want to make this dish more substantial? Simply add fried pancetta, cooked chicken or sausage to the sauce as you toss it with the pasta.
  • Vodka – If you want a boozier taste to this dish, up the vodka content to 100ml or add an extra slash right at the end.
  • Cream – Don’t sub your double cream for milk or single. The acidity from the tomatoes is likely to curdle the sauce.
  • Shallot – You can replace the shallot with half a yellow onion if preferred.
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Penne alla Vodka

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 9 reviews


    • 450g rigatoni pasta
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1tsp chilli flakes
    • 2tbsp tomato puree
    • 1 tin crushed tomatoes (I like Mutti)
    • 75ml vodka
    • 150ml double cream
    • 100g grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • chopped basil to taste


  1. In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.
  2. In a large frying pan melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the minced shallot, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the tomato puree to the pan and cook for 2minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and vodka to the pan and stir everything to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the double cream and parmesan and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season the sauce to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving a some of the pasta water and stir the pasta through the sauce. Add a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed.
  6. Top with grated parmesan cheese, chopped basil and more crushed chilli flakes if desired.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: entrées
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


  1. January 25, 2022 / 10:38 pm

    It’s crazy to me how such a simple and easy recipe can end up being so delicious! It definitely kicks “spaghetti night” up a notch. Your photos make the pasta look so mouthwatering.

  2. Lilly
    January 25, 2022 / 11:20 pm

    The flavor is outstanding! My family really enjoyed this penne alla vodka dish and are already asking me to make it again!

  3. Jeannie
    January 26, 2022 / 2:05 am

    This penne pasta looks amazing, I haven’t tried adding vodka on mine, will make this recipe on our dinner night.

  4. Addie
    January 26, 2022 / 4:40 am

    This pasta recipe is so creamy and delicious! The sauce is to die for! Yum.

  5. January 26, 2022 / 11:02 pm

    A little vodka for the pasta and a little for the cook! Thanks for keeping me hydrated. 🤣 Seriously though, great recipe. Thanks for the inspo.

  6. January 29, 2022 / 8:16 pm

    I also love to keep my onions in the sauce for some more bite! Absolutely loved this dish, thank you for the great recipe

  7. Emily Flint
    January 29, 2022 / 8:32 pm

    Yum, yum, yum! You were right, the extra splash of vodka right at the end was perfect. Delicious!

  8. Dawn Conklin
    January 29, 2022 / 10:52 pm

    Love the vodka sauce! It is so delicious and easy to make, one of my daughter’s favorites now. The whole family loves it.

  9. January 31, 2022 / 10:00 pm

    creamist pasta ever! pinned for later

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star