What’s For Dinner: Penne a la Vodka

This recipe is a family favourite! It’s my wife’s specialty, but she was out one night and I took a stab at it.

Penne a la vodka is quick, easy and, most importantly, filling! It’s great to feed lots of people, delicious as leftovers and if you like bacon and garlic you’re in for a treat! The best part is that it takes the same amount of time to cook the pasta as it does to prepare the sauce.


Penne A La Vodka



3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Spring Onion
Small chunk of pancetta (If you have a vegetarian in your family leave it out)
8 Garlic Cloves
1 Litre of Strained Tomatoes
1 oz Vodka (don’t worry if you have kids, the alcohol burns off)
Whipping Cream (you can use lighter cream but we prefer whipping cream)
450 Grams of Penne Rigate (we like rigate because the sauce gets into the crevices)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Step 1: Cut up the spring onion into thin slices. Cut pancetta into strips, turn the strips and cut 1″ pieces. Peel garlic cloves and smash with a knife (leave them whole, you’ll pull them out of the sauce later).


Step 2: Coat the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil. Saute onions and pancetta for a few minutes. Add the garlic and let everything simmer (revel in the smell – it’s my favourite smell of all time). In a separate pot, bring water (for the pasta) to a boil and add some salt to flavour.


Step 3: Add the tomato and bring to a boil. (Don’t forget to put the penne in the boiling water!)


Step 4: Pour the vodka into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it simmer for five minutes to let the alcohol burn off. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste. Stir. After letting the sauce saute for a few minutes, remove the garlic cloves.


Step 5: Drain the cooked penne and add it to the sauce. Stir and let it boil together for a few minutes. If you have time, let it rest off of the heat for another few minutes, to let the pasta soak up the sauce.


Dig in!


I prefer to add freshly grated parmesan and basil on mine. My wife adds crushed chili peppers.



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