Penne Alla Vodka

    Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with penne pasta in a creamy tomato and vodka sauce. Very easy but oh so tasty!

Penne Alla Vodka
My version of the Italian classic, Penne Alla Vodka, makes for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that the whole family are going to love. Who doesn't love a simple pasta and sauce sometimes?

If you're not a fan of vodka, don't be put off though! You can't taste the vodka in the sauce, it just really helps to bring the flavour of the tomatoes out.

Penne Alla Vodka

A Quick Tomato and Vodka Sauce

In classic Italian cooking you don't often find cream used in tomato based sauces for pasta because of the risk of the cream (fat) separating from the acidic tomatoes. In this dish however, the vodka acts as an emulsifier, which stops that happening. You can use any vodka you have, it doesn't have to be a top brand, they will all have the same effect.

It's also a very quick sauce to prepare, taking not much longer than it takes to cook the pasta. This is music to my ears on busy weeknights when the kids are hungry.

Penne Alla Vodka

Step By Step Penne Alla Vodka

To begin this super simple recipe you need to chop an onion and 3 garlic cloves and cook on a low heat to soften.


Once the onion mix is cooked through, add the vodka, dried oregano and basil and continue to cook until the vodka has reduced.

Onions and herbs in a pan

I use passata in this recipe as my kids like a smooth pasta sauce, but you can always add tinned chopped tomatoes instead.

Tomato vodka sauce

Add the cream to the sauce and mix it all in. I use double cream in my recipe but single cream would also be OK to use.

Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

Make sure the sauce is mixed in thoroughly before adding the cooked pasta.

Adding the Penne to the Tomato and Vodka Sauce
Coat the penne in the creamy tomato vodka sauce, until every last bit of pasta is covered.

Penne Alla Vodka

Add a handful of grated Parmesan to the pan and stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Adding Parmesan to Penne Alla Vodka

Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and more grated Parmesan. My kids really go for the Parmesan in this meal!

Penne Alla Vodka

More Tomato Based Pasta Recipes You Might Like

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Penne Alla Vodka

Top Tips For Making Penne Alla Vodka

  • Spice it up by adding a chopped red chilli at the same time as the onion and garlic.
  • The sauce can be frozen so why not make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half.
  • Up the veg by adding some sliced mushrooms or courgettes to the sauce (fry them after the onion and garlic).
  • Serve with some garlic bread and a simple side salad.

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka, Creamy Tomato Pasta
Yield: 4

Penne Alla Vodka

prep time: 8 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 28 mins
Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with penne pasta in a creamy tomato and vodka sauce. Very easy but oh so tasty!


  • 400g Penne
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped finely
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 125ml Vodka
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Basil (optional)
  • 700g Passata
  • 250ml Double Cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Cook the Penne pasta in a pan of boiling water as per instructions.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil (in a large pan) until soft - about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in the vodka and dried herbs and cook down until the vodka has almost evaporated.
  4. Add the passata and simmer on low for 5 minutes before pouring in the cream and mixing through the grated Parmesan.
  5. Drain the pasta (reserving 1 cup of cooking water) then mix the drained pasta through the sauce. Use the pasta water to loosen the sauce a little if needed.
  6. Serve with more grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.


Calories and nutrition for 1 serving
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)

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Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)


  1. Penne alla Vodka is such a favorite of mine, and it's the perfect dish when it's snowing outside (which it is right now!). I really like the idea of adding some chili to increase the heat! That's perfect for us!

    1. Thanks Susan. it's a really yummy meal. My kids really want snow but no luck here in the UK right now

  2. Such a classic dish, though for some reason it's not one I tend to make. Looks tasty.

    1. You should really try this tomato vodka sauce. So yummy. My kids love it

  3. I had this recipe in Italy years ago but have never made it at home. Will have to give your recipe a try!

  4. Looks so delicious, creamy and comforting! Perfect for cold winter days!


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