Penne alla Vodka Sauce Recipe

I am a sucker for a good penne alla vodka sauce. As a child I grew up ordering penne alla vodka when my family and I went out to dinner. Since penne alla vodka sauce was not a staple in our home when I was growing up I did not learn how to make it until six years ago.

Interested in other dinner recipes? Check out my red wine – braised short rib recipe.

penne alla vodka sauce

This Penne alla Vodka sauce recipe is so tasty! As Guy Fieri would say, “welcome to flavortown.”

My younger brother and I attempted this penne alla vodka sauce when I was living home after college. He was 15 and I was 22. Neither of us knew much about cooking at the time. We followed the directions carefully and of course tasted our progress each time we had the chance.

Once the sauce was finished we anxiously waited for our grandmother to try it. At first she was convinced that we purchased the sauce from a store. I will never forget her questioning if we actually made the penne alla vodka because it tasted so good.

We all had a good laugh that night. Since then I have continued to make the penne alla vodka sauce a few times year.

penne alla vodka ingredients


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto
  • 1 qt heavy cream
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 1 stick butter (I like to add an additional 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 can whole plum tomatoes
  • 3 shots of vodka
  • salt and pepper to taste
cooking penne all vodka


  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in pot. Add chopped garlic and onion. Cook until soft and onion is translucent.
  2. Cut prosciutto into quarter size pieces and add to pan. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Create a circle with ingredients in pot and leave a small hole in the center (should resemble the shape of a donut). Pour vodka in to the center hole and allow to cook off for 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. While vodka is cooking off rinse the plum tomatoes under water to remove the seeds. Try to remove as many seeds as possible because they will cause your sauce to become bitter.
  5. Dice the plum tomatoes and add to the pan along with sauce in can.
  6. Add the heavy cream and tomato paste. Stir thoroughly until well combined.
  7. Chop 5 basil leaves and add to the sauce.
  8. Add the butter and cheese. Stir until butter has melted. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Note: I usually had at least an additional 2 tablespoons of butter. It really improves the overall flavor.
  9. Check sauce and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  10. Season with salt and pepper. Add additional ingredients as you see fit. Note: Sometimes I add a little additional cheese.

Lets Eat!

Now that you cooked up this delicious penne all vodka sauce grab a glass of wine and enjoy with your family and friends!


Penna alla vodka sauce recipe

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