Penne alla vodka

Have I mentioned how much I love pasta? It’s so versatile – there are probably a zillion or more different sauce recipes out there. This tomato and cream based sauce – an improvement over most basic “rosas” – is quick to make and has quite an unusual flavour; you can make it as spicy as you like simply by adding a few extra hot peppers to the vodka before you steep it. Like most pasta sauces, if the sauce has a chance to sit for a little extra time, the flavours will blend better. The recipe is still delicious if you omit the proscuitto or substitute it with sliced mushrooms to make a vegetarian version. I am sure this would be great on gluten-free pasta as well.

While this sauce only has a few ingredients, it is very tasty - and simple to prepare as well!

While this sauce only has a few ingredients, it is very tasty – and simple to prepare as well!


6 thin slices proscuitto, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
½ cup hot pepper vodka*
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
½ cup freshly grated parmesan

*to make hot pepper vodka, heat vodka for 30 seconds in the microwave. Add 1 – 2 dried chili peppers, broken in half, (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes) and let stand for 5 minutes. Strain vodka, discarding peppers and seeds.


  • In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add proscuitto and cook for 2 minutes. Add basil and cook for 1 minute, stirring
  • Add vodka; simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and cream and simmer gently on low heat for 10 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, cook penne in a large pot of boiling water until just tender.
  • Drain pasta and distribute among 4 bowls.
  • Ladle hot sauce over top and garnish with parsley and parmesan.

Serves 4.

About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
This entry was posted in One dish meals, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.