Deliciously Easy Vodka Sauce | Italian Penne Vodka

Vodka Penne (or Rigatoni… you choose) is one of my favorite pasta dishes. The vodka sauce is incredibly simple to make with just 4 ingredients, and it’s one of those pastas that has the super ability of curing your hunger, but also warming your heart. It’s like a giant, creamy Italian hug. Yes, I actually said that.

Watch Our Video: How to Make Vodka Penne Pasta

Ingredients for Vodka Sauce:

  • 1 Cup of Vodka
  • 1/2 lb of Prosciutto
  • 1 Qt of Heavy Cream
  • 28 Oz of Crushed Tomatoes

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Pasta of your choice
  • Grated Cheese
  • Crushed Red Pepper

How to Make the Vodka Penne Sauce:

Start by cutting up the prosciutto into small squares. I’ve found the fastest way to do this is to remove all the paper that separates the layers and stack them, then chop. They’ll get stuck together, but it’ll break up in the pan easily.

Put the prosciutto into a sauce pan on medium heat and add the vodka.

From personal experience I will tell you it’s vital to use PLAIN vodka. Someone gifted me a bottle of Coconut flavored vodka in a gift basket that we were not going to drink, but I thought I could make good use of it and use it for cooking. Colossal failure. We got take-out that night and I didn’t make this dinner for a year because we were so scarred. Your vodka does not need to be expensive either. I use bottom shelf cooking vodka, basically whatever is on sale. Vodka, depending on how it’s made, is neutral or slightly alkali on the pH scale. It’s made from fermented grains and potatoes. It’s the perfect compliment to the acid the in the crushed tomatoes and brings balance to the sauce and removes the harsh “bite” from the crushed tomatoes. If you’re concerned about the alcohol, it cooks out in the pan!

cut up the prosciutto for the vodka sauce

Allow the vodka and the prosciutto to simmer on medium heat for 15-20 mins. You should be able to smell the pungent-ness of the alcohol dissipate by that point. Next add the crushed tomatoes and stir thoroughly.

Add the crushed tomatoes to the vodka sauce

Allow the prosciutto, vodka, and crushed tomatoes to simmer together for 5-10 mins before adding the heavy cream.

mix the cream into the vodka sauce

Add the cream a few ounces at a time. Keep mixing each addition of cream until the white cream lines disappear before adding more.

finished vodka sauce

While your sauce is finishing up, put a pot of water on to boil your pasta!

Do not rinse your pasta after you strain it! The starch in the water will help the sauce to adhere to the pasta. Mix your Vodka Sauce in with the pasta. You can add grated cheese or crushed red pepper to your liking!

vodka sauce with penne

Vodka Penne is great (and healthiest) as a side, but it could easily be transformed into a full dinner by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or sausage to your pasta!

Sound Delish? Read our other Recipes!

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