Penne alla Vodka Recipe

This quick and easy penne alla vodka recipe is a great way to impress your friends, family, or guests! |

I took one bite of this and knew I had to get my camera out and get this creamy, cheese, slightly salty Penne alla Vodka recipe up on the blog ASAP. I’ve been making penne alla vodka for years, and I can’t figure out why I haven’t gotten this recipe up on the blog sooner. Look at it!

There are so many reasons to love it! First, it’s pasta. Everyone loves a good pasta dish, especially one that is creamy and cheesy. Second, there is VODKA in it. Pasta with vodka, those are like, two of my favorite things. Third, it is truly easy to make. While the steps might look intimidating and you do have to use multiple pans, you have to heat some of the things up, throw them in a pot with some of the things, and then add it all together with pasta and cheese on top. Read through the whole recipe once and you’ll see that it’s really just adding some pasta to an easy-to-make sauce…ready in 30 minutes! Lastly, this is a great skill/effort-to-impressiveness ratio dish. You don’t need to be super sophisticated to make it, and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it definitely is a show-stopper. If you’re trying to impress someone, whether it be your Bumble date or your parents, this is a great go-to dish to have in your back pocket. Goes great with a simple salad!

If I were you, I would double the sauce recipe so you can freeze some for later. I did that and now I have extra sauce in the freezer to defrost later - all I need to keep on hand is pasta & parmesan cheese in the fridge, two things that I always have on hand (because duh). Thinking ahead and having easy AND delicious meals at home will save you a ton of impulse-buy money if you’re tempted by takeout or delivery. I store mine in sandwich bags and freeze them laying down, then I’ll stand them up later for easy storage in the freezer! Mine are in 2-serving portions.

In other news, it’s almost MARCH! How? Who would have thought that in my second year of teaching it would be even harder to keep up with the blog? I posted more regularly my first year out of college when I was working in a school 50 hours a week and attending grad school on nights and all day on Saturdays…how?!? I guess when I was constantly go-go-go all the time, it was easy to just keep checking things off my list and writing a blog post just got done as I rushed to get to the bottom of my list - which never happened. In my second year as a full time teacher and third year out of college, I’m finding I’m getting better at getting to the bottom of my to do lists, and when I do that, all I want to do is chill out on the couch with a cocktail, go for a run (I’ve taken up running, which if you knew me anytime before age 25, is hard to believe), or plan my next vacation (headed to Germany in April to visit my younger brother studying abroad! Stay tuned for my favorite places from that trip). I’ve said this a million times now, but I want to be on the blog more. I’ve really found my own rhythm of what works for us with cooking for ourselves, and I want to keep trying my best to bring that to more people! In the meantime, sit down with your heaping bowl of penne alla vodka and a nice glass of red wine (or…any cocktail with some of that Tito’s vodka!) and if you’ve got a moment, tell me what you’d like to see more of on the blog, I’d love to hear from you!

Penne alla Vodka Recipe

Makes 4 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Vodka: check out my Bar Basics post // Penne + heavy cream: Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • Splash of oil oil

  • 1/2 of a standard 16 oz. box of penne pasta (or what looks like 4 servings. what even are pasta serving sizes?)

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup vodka - Remember you can check out the grocery guide for more info if you’ve got questions!

  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto - or a few slices. whatever works!

  • 1 - 15 oz. CAN of plain tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, shredded

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Optional: Parsley, for topping

Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free Friendly:
Use your favorite gluten-free pasta
Not dairy-free, vegan, or vegetarian friendly



1. Get a large pot of boiling water (with a pinch of salt) started for your pasta.
Get out a large saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Add a splash of olive oil to heat up, while you dice 1/2 yellow onion and then add it to the pan.
3. While the onion is sautéeing, dice 1/4 lb. proscuitto. The easiest way to do this is to actually use kitchen scissors and cut the proscuitto into pieces! They’re on my kitchen essentials list.
4. Heat a separate sauté pan on medium heat and add the proscuitto you just diced up. No oil is needed! Continue to sauté the proscuitto as it gets crispier and crispier.
5. Add 1/4 cup vodka to your onion saucepan. Let the alcohol burn off for 2-4 minutes. Pro tip: do not smell the sauce at this point. 100% alcohol fumes is painful.

(MULTI-TASK TIME - get the pasta going!)
6. By now your pasta water should be boiling, add 1/2 box penne pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until desired doneness.

7 Once the vodka has evaporated a bit (about 2-4 minutes), add the crispy prosciuitto, 15 oz. can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Let the sauce simmer on a lower heat setting while you check the pasta, drain it, and grate some parmigiano reggiano cheese.
9. Add the 1/2 the parmigiano reggiano cheese to the sauce, save the rest for topping your pasta!
10. Once you’ve grated your cheese and finished and drained the pasta, taste the sauce and add any salt & pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt because the proscuitto is salty already!
11. Add everything together - I like to toss all my pasta in the sauce and then get it into my bowl to top with some more fresh cracked pepper, fresh chopped parsley, and a generous heap of parmigiano cheese.


This quick and easy penne alla vodka recipe is a great way to impress your friends, family, or guests! |

Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

LUNCH TOMORROW - Almost all pasta recipes taste better the next day, but there’s something about penne alla vodka that’s extra special. I think it’s time for the vodka to soak into the sauce and pasta and for everything to really meld together. This is a super yummy and indulgent lunch to enjoy at work the next day!

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Use up the rest your pasta in one of your favorite pasta recipes, like my pasta & meatballs recipe - or use up your heavy cream while you’re at it in the Creamy Asiago Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes. Save the half of an onion for any one of my other recipes - maybe my easy Chicken Pot Pie to keep you warm this winter? and in case you need it, my favorite vodka drink is a Moscow Mule!