Penne with Vodka Sauce

Looking back on my recent posts I realized I haven’t actually posted any recipes in a really long time, so this post is the remedy to that.  I present you with my recipe for penne with vodka sauce.  I came up with this recipe a few years ago after searching for a vodka sauce recipe.  I didn’t find one that I was happy with so I ended up combining a couple different ones (which I tend to do a lot when I’m looking for a recipe).  Anyway, it’s pretty simple and is incredibly delicious!

penne with vodka sauce

First, gather all your ingredients: penne, onion, garlic, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, vodka (I recommend NOT using the cheapest vodka you can find… trust me, spend a little more), basil, crushed red pepper, heavy cream, and grated Parmesan.

Vodka Sauce Ingredients

Mince the onion and garlic and cook in the olive oil until translucent.

Onion and garlic

Then add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour.

crushed tomatoes and basil

Add the basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and vodka and simmer the sauce.

basilcrushed red peppervodka

Stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese and simmer 5-10 more minutes.


Finally, stir in the cooked penne pasta.  Top with basil and serve.

finished pasta


Penne with Vodka Sauce

Serves 6


1 box penne pasta

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion – minced

1 clove garlic – minced

34 oz crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

salt & pepper

4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil + more for garnish

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

– Cook garlic and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent (about 3 minutes)

– Add tomatoes, bay leaf, and salt & pepper.  Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally

– After one hour add the basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and vodka, simmer over low heat stirring frequently until reduced by about 1/4 (about 25 minutes)

– Stir in cream and Parmesan cheese, simmer 5-10 more minutes

– Cook penne according to box directions

– Stir cooked penne into sauce, sprinkle with fresh basil and serve

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