[Example] Penne Alla Vodka

April 4, 2022

This rich and velvety sauce will make you feel like you're dining in Milan. The key to the texture is the combination of tomato paste and whole tomatoes. For some added flair, throw in your favorite cooked italian sausage or prosciutto. Buon appetito!
6 servings


  • 1 lb penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir frequently and adjust heat to ensure garlic doesn't burn. Cook until onions are soft but not browned.

  2. Add tomato paste. Stir until fragrant, roughly 3 minutes.

  3. Add canned whole tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Stir frequently and crush tomatoes chunks. Cook until sauce thickens, roughly 10 minutes.

  4. Add vodka and stir. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Turn off the heat.

  5. In a separate large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the box. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water.

  6. Return sauce to a simmer on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and heavy cream. Stir.

  7. Transfer pasta into sauce with 1/2 cup pasta water. Increase heat to high and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Stir frequently and test pasta consistency.

  8. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese (keep some for garnish). Add salt to taste.

  9. Serve immediately and add the remaining parmesan and parsley on top.


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