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5 from 9 votes

Penne alla Vodka - Pasta with Tomato Vodka Sauce

Penne alla Vodka is a super easy pasta recipe that'll leave you licking your plate clean! It's made with penne pasta tossed in a creamy tomato vodka sauce with garlic and pancetta. If a big bowl of comfort food is what you're looking for then this is it!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 647kcal
Author: Emily Kemp


  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup smoked pancetta cubed (100g)
  • 1 garlic clove , finely chopped
  • 1 shallot , finely chopped
  • 4 cups penne pasta (14 oz/400g)
  • 1.5 cup puréed tomatoes (passata) (400g)
  • cup heavy cream (80ml)
  • cup vodka (80ml)
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water (120ml)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • freshly grated parmesan for serving (optional)


  • Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packet instruction until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large pan and add the pancetta, fry for a couple of minutes until starting to brown (2-3 minutes)
  • Next, add the garlic and shallot and saute until the shallot becomes translucent and garlic is fragrant.
  • Stir the pureed tomatoes into the skillet and add ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Let it simmer for 1 minute then reduce the heat to low.
  • Add the cream and stir until thoroughly combined with the tomato. Once combined, add the vodka with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Let the sauce simmer for 3-4 minutes or until you can no longer smell the vodka and the sauce has darkened slightly. If the sauce reduces too much then add another splash of pasta water.
  • Once the pasta is cooked al dente, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve with parmesan.



  • No pancetta? you can use smoked bacon roughly chopped instead.
  • If you can't get a good brand of tomatoes then you might need to add a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity, add it to taste.
  • It's important to turn the heat to low before adding the cream or it might split. Don't worry if it does, the sauce will look a little grainy but will still taste delicious.
  • If you don't have penne pasta, no problem, use any pasta shape you like!
  • I don't add any herbs to this recipe but if you want to add some then fresh basil or parsley would work well.
  • Make sure to reserve pasta water, this helps emulsify the sauce but also adds a lot of flavour.
  • You can make this sauce in advance keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it in suitable containers.
  • Leftover pasta will keep for 1-2 days and can be eaten cold for lunch or made into a pasta salad.


Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 770IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg