The Perfection of Penne Alla Vodka

penne alla vodka recipe
Penne Alla Vodka (image courtesy of the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore)

An Italian dish, penne alla vodka is a well-known pasta dish that is popular in the United States as well. While vodka and penne pasta are the two key ingredients that make up the penne alla vodka recipe, heavy cream, tomatoes, onions as well as an occasional sausage is added to the dish. best penne alla vodka recipe. The unique nature of this dish is that the vodka acts as an emulsifier that ensures the oil from the cream, another vital ingredient, does not separate. You can make an easy penne alla vodka recipe at home as well as most of the ingredients are today readily available at supermarkets and online stores. In fact, this is a dish that is hearty and filling and one that you can even have without alcohol if you wish so. Incidentally, this is a pasta whose origins are not really known, and several cookbooks allude to it.

We tell you how to make penne alla vodka, using these two simple penne alla vodka recipes.

Penne Alla Vodka Recipe (courtesy Tanmoy Majumder, Executive Chef, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore)


  • Penne Pasta, blanched 160 grams
  • Butter 30 grams
  • Olive Oil, Extra virgin 10 ml
  • Garlic Chopped 20 grams
  • Onion chopped 20 grams
  • Fresh tomato, blanched, de-skinned & chopped 5 nos, medium size
  • Dry chili flakes 1-2 grams
  • Fresh Oregano or Basil leaves 2 grams
  • Salt & pepper as required
  • Cream cooking ½ cup
  • Parmesan cheese 40- 50 grams
  • Vodka 60-70 ml


  • Heat oil and butter in a medium sized frying pan. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook without coloring at medium heat for 45 seconds to one minute. Add chili flakes.
  • Add vodka to it and reduce the gas flame for a couple of minutes. Add tomato and cook for another three to four minutes.
  • Add cream, salt and pepper and reduce the sauce until the right consistency is achieved (basically the sauce should coat evenly on the back of the ladle.)
  • Add pasta to the sauce. Give a final toss with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.

Penne Alla Vodka Recipe (courtesy Chef Thayanithi Tamilarasu, Senior Sous Chef, Signature Club Resort, Brigade Group)


  • Olive Oil 8 ml
  • Chopped White Onion 20 grams
  • Tomato Puree 100 grams
  • Red Chili Flakes 3 grams
  • Chopped Garlic 4 grams
  • Sugar 3 grams
  • Salt to taste
  • Vodka 30 ml
  • Fresh Cream 60 ml
  • Penne Pasta (Boiled) 300 grams
  • Parmesan Cheese 10 grams for garnish
  • Chopped Parsley 2 grams


  • In a large skillet pan over medium heat, pour olive oil, add chopped garlic and onion, stirring frequently until softened and golden brown.
  • Add tomato puree, red chili flakes, salt, and sugar. Mix frequently. Reduce heat to medium, add vodka. Briskly stir till the alcohol evaporates.
  • Add fresh cream, boil penne pasta, and mix slowly for three minutes. Switch off the flame. Transfer into a serving bowl garnished with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup

  • 366 Cal
  • 38g Carbs
  • 16g Fat
  • 13g Protein


What does vodka do in pasta sauce?

Vodka gives a sharp bite and gives an element of heat that balances the sweetness of tomatoes and cream.

Do you need vodka for penne alla vodka?

While you need to add Vodka for an authentic penne alla vodka recipe, you can replace it with lemon water as well in case you do not prefer adding alcohol.

What can I substitute for vodka in penne alla vodka?

You can also add rum in the sauce, as the alcohol enhances the other flavors of the sauce without standing out on its own.

Does store bought vodka sauce have vodka in it?

It is true that store bought vodka sauce does contain vodka and is intended for the cream to blend smoothly without the oil and water separating.

Can kids eat vodka sauce?

It is safe for kids to eat vodka pasta sauce provided the dish has been cooked thoroughly as a small amount of alcohol that it used should evaporate during cooking.