Penne ala Vodka

Pasta cooked al dente topped with a cream based tomato and vodka sauce … pure comfort foodwhite bowl full of pasta with alla vodka sauce on top with basil

Guess what we’re making today friends?  Penne a la Vodka!

um…. hello?  Did you hear me?


I remember the very first time I had Penne ala Vodka.  I was working at one of my first jobs on Long Island, NY and went to lunch with friends.  I was very ‘grown up’ at the ripe old age of 20.

We went to a local Italian restaurant and as my eyes were scanning down the menu I saw the words ‘Vodka’.  I said to myself… hmmmm.  That would be a very ‘grown up’ dish to order.

And so I did.  With no expectation of what was to come.

I was hooked!  The pasta was perfectly cooked, the sauce was to die for and I sopped up every last bit of it with my fresh Italian bread.

There is just something about Penne ala Vodka that is so comforting and delicious.

Now I know there are ‘low fat’ versions of this dish circulating the net, but I’d like to caution you to stay with the original recipe and I’ll tell you why.

The low fat version will often use either 1 or 2% milk or fat free half and half cream.    According to Dr. Mercola, “…one of the biggest myths recently sabotaging many Americans’ diets is the idea that low-fat and fat-free foods are healthy. It first started in the ’50s and was largely a result of seriously flawed research by Ancel Keys. Fortunately, most people are recognizing the fallacy of this myth, but many still believe it.”

This recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of heavy cream and serves 4-6 people.  That’s LESS than 1/8 of a cup of heavy cream per person.  Not to mention if you use organic there will be no rBGH or antibiotics in the cream.

There is also no sugar in heavy cream as there is in milk.  You will use less cream and get a much thicker, creamier end result than you will get with milk.

I don’t make dishes like this often, but they are worth making less often and with good quality ingredients.  You can NEVER go wrong with good quality ingredients.


Penne ala vodka

white bowl full of pasta with ala vodka sauce on top with basil

Pasta cooked al dente topped with a cream based tomato and vodka sauce … pure comfort food.

  • Author: Debi


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 small organic onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 28 oz canned crushed organic tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup good quality vodka (poured into a measuring cup)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 box whole grain or whole wheat penne pasta
  • freshly grated organic Parm cheese


  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a large sauce pan over medium heat until crispy
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve 1 Tablespoon of fat
  3. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute
  4. Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more until the tomato paste deepens in color
  5. Add the tomatoes, salt and a pinch of fresh black pepper
  6. Add the vodka and simmer for approx 15 min, stirring often
  7. Add the cream and stir to combine and heat through
  8. Add the bacon
  9. Drain your penne in a colander, reserving 1/4 of the water
  10. Add the pasta to the sauce and continue to cook another minute. Add additional pasta water as needed

Recipe Source:
I used all organic ingredients when making this recipe, and hope you do too! 🙂

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  1. So cheesy. Amazing!!

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