Spicy, creamy and loaded with bold Italian flavors! This easy pasta dish is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
You know those meals that just taste like home? Well that’s exactly what this penne pasta alla vodka dish is to me! (Probably because it’s the first dish that I really remember making with my mom… BUT also because it’s so warm and comforting that you just can’t help but want to snuggle up and share it with all of your favorite people!) Plus it’s so easy to make too which makes it the perfect weeknight dinner or even a great option for serving a crowd!
- Penne pasta: Even though this recipe is called “penne pasta all vodka” you don’t have to use penne if you really don’t want to! Almost any short type of pasta will work! (Some of our other favorites to use are farfalle (bowtie) or rigatoni.)
- Prosciutto: Adds a little bit of salt to your dish and makes it hearty too!
- Red onion & garlic: Add some aromatics to your pasta that help to compliment the rrest of your flavors.
- Canned crushed tomatoes: The basis of your sauce!
- Sugar: Adds a little bit of sweetness to counter the acidity from your tomato sauce. (This is a necessity – DO NOT skip this step!)
- Heavy cream: Adds some creaminess to your sauce. (Can use regular or dairy free cream.)
- Dried basil & parsley: Really up’s that Italian flavor!
- Salt & pepper: Elevates each individual flavor and is always a necessity when cooking. 😉
- Red chili flakes: Adds a toucg of spice to your sauce!
So there’s no actual vodka in this pasta recipe?! Nope not in this version loves! Fun fact – we’ve actaully never made this with alcohol before and I personally think it tastes better that way!
How to make penne pasta alla vodka
Like I said before, this is probabaly one of the easiest pasta dishes you’ll add to your dinner repertiore! Check out these simple step-by-step directions below:
- First, cook your pasta noodles according to the package’s direction. Then drain the pasta and set it aside while you prepare your sauce.
- Next, spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat it over medium high heat. Once it’s hot, add your onions and saute them until they just begin to soften. Then add your chopped prosciutto and garlic and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Saute again until the prosciutto is cooked through. (About 1-2 minutes.)
- Then add your crushed tomatoes, sugar, dried basil and parsley and season with red pepper flakes to taste. Give the sauce a good stir and let it simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes. (The sauce will start to thicken and really infuse your spices together.)
- Then stir in your heavy cream until it’s fully incorporated and the sauce becomes a little more “loose”.
- Pour your cooked pasta into a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Stir your pasta and sauce together until it’s completely coated. Serve immediately with sliced fresh basil and grated parmesan (if not dairy free).
How can I make this pasta sauce dairy free?
Easy! Simply swap out the regular cream for a dairy free heavy cream and omit the parmesan on top! I personally love using Silk’s dairy free cream becasue it’s the closest one I’ve found to tasting like the real thing. (That being said though, you can definitely use your favorite heavy cream replacement too! I also wouldn’t suggest using milk or a milk alternative because it doesn’t have th right consistency. When I tried using these in the past the sauce came out more “watery” than creamy.😲)
How can I make this pasta recipe gluten free?
Use your favorite gluten free noodles instead! I absolutely love that there are so many alternatives to regular pasta noodles now so feel free to experiment with a few! (Some of my favorite gluten free brands are Banza and Barilla.)
I hope you all enjoy this warm and cozy penne pasta alla vodka just as much as our family does! Have the very best day loves! 🙂
More recipes like this:
- One Pot Green Chile Mac & Cheese
- Easy Pizza Pasta Salad
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- Italian Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce
- Easy Italian Pasta Salad
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Penne Pasta alla Vodka
- 1 lb. dry penne pasta* (can use gluten free noddles if needed)
- 2 8oz. packages prosciutto, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream (can use dairy free heavy cream if needed)
- 1 Tbsp + 1½ tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp + 1½ tsp dried parsley
- Salt & pepper, to taste.
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Cook the pasta noodles according to the package's directions. Then drain the noodles and set them aside while you prepare your sauce.
- Next, spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat it over medium high heat. Once it's hot, add your onions and saute them until they just begin to soften. Then add your chopped prosciutto and garlic and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Saute again until the prosciutto is cooked through. (About 1-2 minutes.)
- Then add your crushed tomatoes, sugar, dried basil and parsley and season with red pepper flakes to taste. Stir and turn the burner down to medium low. Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occaisionally. Then stir in your heavy cream until it's fully incorporated.
- Pour your cooked pasta into a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Stir your pasta and sauce together until it's completely coated. Serve immediately with sliced fresh basil and grated parmesan (if not dairy free).