Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Penne a la Vodka

The best Penne a la Vodka that we've ever tasted comes from Patsy's in New York City. It is so good that my cousin Laura calls it "Happy Noodles"...because eating them makes you...well...happy! Since then I've searched high and low to find an equally delicious version to make at home.

This recipe isn't a copy-cat but definitely has a spot on our go-to menu and is Chris' favorite recipe that Christine makes. The prep/cook time is short which makes it an added bonus and easy to make during the week after a long hard day at work. The recipe makes a lot for just the two of us and we usually make at least 2 meals of it. It's kind of funny because we buy vodka soley to cook this meal...not to drink!

PS: I don't normally measure my garlic, sugar, basil, cracked red pepper or salt and pepper but I know I added these ingredients to get the taste to match the profile I was going for. Usually I just add it by eyeballing so you may need to do some adjusting!

Penne a la Vodka
(source: modified from All Recipes)


  • 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • cracked red pepper, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook per package directions until al dente; drain (do not rinse).
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and pancetta, and saute until onions are soft and translucent and pancetta is lightly browned. Add vodka and stir until it is reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Add sugar, basil, cracked red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
  3. Stir in pasta, and heat through. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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