Penne Alla Vodka (One Pot)
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Quick and easy penne alla vodka recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Rich, creamy, classic Italian dish.
This is a creamy and flavorful pasta dish that is perfect for a party or a weeknight meal with you family, similar to this Tomato Basil Pasta (One Pot).
Do not fear the alcohol because it cooks off, making it perfectly acceptable for you kids to eat as well.
The tangy tomatoes, fresh herbs, and vodka balance each other perfectly to create a very satisfying comfort dish.
How to make penne alla vodka?
- Saute onions- Heat butter and oil and saute onions until soft and translucent.
- Reduce alcohol– Pour vodka and cook to reduce it.
- Add garlic– Saute until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients– Mix in broth, crushed tomatoes, red chili flakes, oregano, salt, pepper, uncooked pasta. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat– Continue cooking uncovered until pasta is al dente.
- Reduce heat to Low – Pour heavy cream.
- Add herbs- Mix in basil and parsley.
- Enjoy! Garnish with parmesan cheese and dig in!
What sides to serve with penne alla vodka recipe?
This pasta pairs well with salads such as a simple green salad or this Italian Chopped Salad (One Bowl) or this Three Bean Salad (One bowl). The lightness of a salad balances the richness of the pasta perfectly.
Roasted vegetables make a great side dish for creamy pasta. Try one of these: Oven Roasted Green Beans (One Pan) or Oven Roasted Broccoli (One Pan) or Oven Roasted Asparagus (One Pan).
It also compliments soups such as Roasted Red Pepper Soup (One Pot) or Tomato Basil Soup Recipe (One Pot).
Bread works really well too such as garlic bread, cheese breadsticks, soft dinner rolls.
Does penne alla vodka have vodka?
Yes, it does contain vodka, but the alcohol cooks off.
Can you use flavored vodka?
No, you can not use flavored vodka. The flavor will be retained in the dish and end up overpowering the intended taste of this meal.
Penne alla vodka sauce
This sauce is really simple and made by sauteing onions and garlic until fragrant. Then, add vodka and reduce it. Next, mix in broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, red chili flakes. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Then, stir in heavy cream. Finally, garnish with basil and parsley. Serve it over boiled pasta.
Penna alla vodka with chicken– Add cooked cubed or shredded chicken, or even rotisserie chicken at the end.
Penne alla vodka with shrimp– Add cooked shrimp for a seafood twist at the end.
Add sausage, beef, meatballs, pancetta or ham– These will turn this pasta into a filling main course.
Make it creamy– Add a little half and half, heavy cream or coconut milk in order to make it extra creamy.
Make it spicy– Add cayenne pepper, or increase the amount of red chili flakes.
Add vegetables– Such as my Oven Roasted Vegetables (One Pan), frozen vegetables or spinach or even peas.
Use different herbs– Such as thyme, rosemary, or sage.
Garnish options– Top with a variety of fresh herbs, diced sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or pepperoncini peppers or even shredded cheese.
Use zoodles- This meal can be made healthier with veggie noodles instead of pasta for a healthier option. Try it with my Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash or spiralize zucchini to create zoodles. The cook time is obviously much faster than regular flour-based pasta and the recipe below will have to be modified, accordingly.
Add a combination of cheeses- Such as Romano, Asiago, goat cheese, mozzarella, or smoked gouda.
Tips and Techniques
How to thicken vodka pasta sauce? Keep cooking uncovered until excess liquid evaporates and the sauce becomes thicker.
How to make vodka sauce thinner? Add more broth or water.
Can you use whole wheat pasta? Yes, whole wheat pasta adds fiber and is a healthier option. The cook time may vary.
What kind of pasta to use? I used Penne for this recipe, but you can use whatever pasta you prefer. Try spaghetti, angel hair, rotini, rigatoni or shell.
Cook off the alcohol– This is very important! The alcohol needs to be cooked off or you will end up with a strong aftertaste. Don’t skip this step!
How to cook off alcohol? How long does it take? Heat vodka over medium heat for 20-30 seconds minimum. Alcohol evaporates at 172 degrees F. Thus, if it is simmering or boiling, it is hot enough to cook the alcohol off.
Make ahead instructions– This meal can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve. At that time, it can be heated in the microwave.
How to reheat leftovers? Re-heat on the stove top or in the microwave.
Can this pasta dish be frozen? Yes, it can be frozen and re-heated in the oven at 350 degrees F until edges are bubbly and center is heated through.
Use Italian tomatoes– This ensures an authentic flavor.
Use a non-stick pot– Because this prevents pasta from sticking and burning.
Watch the salt content– Use unsalted butter and low sodium broth.
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta (One Pot)
- Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe (One Pot)
- Creamy Spinach Pasta (One Pot)
- One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
One Pot Penne Alla Vodka
- 1 tbsp Butter, Unsalted
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 cup Onions, Finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, Finely minced
- 1 cup Vodka
- 2 cups Chicken broth, Low sodium
- 1 can Crushed tomatoes, 28 oz. can
- 1/4 tsp Red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp Dried oregano
- Salt , To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1 box Penna pasta, 1 pound box
- 1/2-3/4 cup Heavy cream
- 1 tbsp Basil, Fresh, Roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Parsley, Fresh, Roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, Shredded, For garnish
- Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.
- Pour vodka and cook to reduce it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add broth, crushed tomatoes, red chili flakes, oregano, salt, pepper, uncooked pasta.
- Stir and bring everything to a boil.
- Lower the heat to Medium and continue cooking uncovered until pasta is al dente. Be sure to mix often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- If sauce starts to become too thick and pasta is still uncooked, add a little more broth or water to thin it out.
- Reduce heat to Low and pour heavy cream.
- Add basil, parsley and mix everything together.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese and Enjoy!
Happy cooking everyone!