This perfect penne vodka recipe really lives up to its name. This penne has just the right amount of tomato, cream, cheese, and a balance of heat from crushed red pepper. My favorite part of this dish is how the sauce clings to the pasta with a little help from the parmesan.
I’m a huge fan of vodka sauce. I substitute it on my pizza at restaurants whenever possible, and add it to my subs from my favorite sandwich shop in town. Vodka sauce just makes me happy.
When making this recipe, make sure that you follow the instructions at the end exactly how I explain. The way that the pasta is added to the sauce, and continues to cook in the sauce with some of its starchy water is what makes this dish so perfect. The sauce thickens up and sticks to the pasta perfectly. If you just add vodka sauce to pasta, it’s just not the same.
perfect penne vodka
This penne vodka has just the right amount of tomato, cream, cheese, and a balance of heat from crushed red pepper.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the pancetta, and cook until crisped and slightly browned. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vodka to the pot, and simmer until the smell of alcohol has worn off.
While the vodka is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil for the penne. Salt the water and cook the penne until almost al dente, (about 1 minute less than cooking instructions.) Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain.
Stir tomato sauce into the pot with pancetta and garlic. Add the cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn the heat off of the sauce. Add the pasta, 1/4 c parmesan, 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and the crushed red pepper to the sauce. Stir to combine, and allow to stand for 5 minutes, stirring every minute. Add more cooking liquid if the pasta gets too dry. Serve immediately topped with the remaining parmesan.
30 minute recipe cheesy comfort food Italian food pasta sauce