This vodka penne recipe is rich, decadent, creamy, and full of flavor. The San Marzano tomatoes combined with savory onion, garlic, oregano, and vodka are slow-cooked to marry the flavors perfectly. Then, the rich tomato sauce is finished off with heavy cream creating the best vodka sauce you’ll ever taste.
The full (printable) recipe card with ingredients, measurements, and directions can be found at the end of this post.
A Time to Gather
Family dinner. One of the non-negotiables at the farm is eating around the table at supper time. Whether someone has soccer practice, they’re riding in the arena, or hanging out with friends, Monday through Thursday and Sundays, supper is served at the table. Supper is served at a time when everyone can eat together. Sometimes it’s early in the evening and sometimes it’s later, but regardless of the time, it is reserved for sitting down together as a family. Suppertime is a moment in the day when we catch up on the latest happenings at school, work, and with friends. Eating around the table (unplugged) is a priceless time every day that we can connect as a family.
More often than not, if you join us on Sunday, vodka penne is served for “Sunday Gravy.” It can be served with sauteed sausage or shrimp or shredded chicken.
Ingredients in Vodka Penne
- Olive oil
- Sweet yellow onion
- Red pepper flakes
- Oregano (dried and fresh)
- Vodka (optional, but highly recommended)
- San Marzano tomatoes
- Sea Salt and pepper
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Penne pasta
How to Make Vodka Penne
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Then, heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and onions and cook them until they are light brown, about 5-7 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. stir in the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook about 1 minute more.
Now it’s time to add the vodka. Cook the mixture until it’s reduced by half. *No vodka in the kitchen? A dry white wine will also work. If you don’t have alcohol in the house, you do not need to add it to the sauce. It is not a necessary component, but it is an incredible flavor enhancer. With or without the vodka, the dish is delicious!
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, crush the tomatoes and add them to the pan. Add the sea salt and a pinch of black pepper.
Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on the stovetop.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
If you prefer your sauce smooth, in small batches spoon sauce into a blender puree it until it reaches a smooth consistency, and then return it to the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over low heat. If you prefer your sauce slightly chunky, place the pan on the stovetop over low heat.
Add the heavy cream to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and toss the pasta into the sauce until it’s well incorporated.
Serve the pasta warm and garnish with fresh chopped oregano and more Parmesan cheese.
Farmhouse Italian Favorites
Looking for more farmhouse Italian favorite dishes? You may want to check these out:
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