Ready to spike your pasta sauce?

It’s really the best thing you can do for your penne pasta, add a little more flavor and bring out the tomato flavor. Pair it with some delicious ham, chicken, even sausage would work great or a little bit of that shrimp, some fresh herbs, cheese and voila!

You’re a master chef.

We’ve already established (after years of dining out and trying to recreate dishes at home), pasta has to be the easiest and the most delicious of those dishes. So now might be the right time to get in the kitchen and get started on our favorite penne alla vodka.

A pro tip: Keep some brandy handy, you won’t regret it!

If you’re not much of a cook, that’s fine too. You can simply order your favorites from the best Italian restaurant NYC and enjoy it while we create havoc in the kitchen.

If you’re here for the recipe, let’s get started!


Remember how we asked you to get in the kitchen right away? Well, you might wanna take a moment and read through the ingredient list first. Make sure you have everything you need before you get in the groove.

Just remember, quality makes quality! So when you’re out there hunting for ingredients, get the best of the best. It’ll make your hard work pay off in the end.

Penne or Pennette – Quantity depends on the number of people you’ll be serving. This has to be cooked al dente (as per the instructions on the pack)

Whole tomatoes – Make sure these are high quality, and fresh. The whole dish primarily depends on how good these tomatoes will taste when mixed with vodka.

Vodka – Only the third most important ingredient on the list, but most definitely our favorite. You’ll just need about half of a cup or more (who are we to judge)

Brandy – A nice little surprise for everyone trying this dish for the first time. You won’t go back to only- vodka sauce after this. (You can also replace vodka with brandy to make the tomato sauce)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Butter – You can make the choice here. My personal favorite is to saute vegetables in butter (gives it that flavor) but you can most definitely choose the healthier alternative which makes the pasta just as tasty.

Panna da Cucina – You can go for your favorite heavy cream, crema mexicana, creme fraiche or Panna da Cucina, don’t opt for any healthy low-fat substitute here. Let go, for this once.

Pancetta or Prosciutto – You can add these flavorful hams to make the pasta taste even more divine. But the best part, you can substitute them for your preferred meat too. Go for bacon, chicken or some shrimp. It’ll all go well.

Crushed Red Peppers – Adding some spice to your vodka tomato sauce is really going to set off your taste buds into appreciating the deliciousness of the dish. Just add more or less of it based on how spicy you can handle.

Garlic – No paste or powder can give you the flavor of a freshly minced garlic can. It’s the little things that matter.

Onions – Mince them into thin slices that will be sauteed until beautifully golden.

Shredded Parmesan Cheese – Who doesn’t like some cheese in their pasta sauce. I don’t even need to get into any further details about it.

Salt and Black Pepper – You know the drill, add to taste. The sauce will reduce so don’t get carried away with your seasoning.

Fresh Basil and Oregano – No compulsions here but the blend really does make dishes taste divine.

Directions to Make the Perfect Serving of Penne Alla Vodka

Prepare the Pasta – Boil water, add the penne to it and season it with some salt. Cook it al dente (as per instructions). Save one cup of the pasta water and drain the excess.

Saute – In a separate dish, melt some butter or heat some of the olive oil and add the finely cut onions. Add prosciutto or pancetta and saute for a few minutes till both are cooked well. Follow with finely minced garlic and crushed red pepper.

Add Tomatoes and Vodka – Take the dish off heat. Add tomatoes and vodka into the dish. You can use a food mill to make sure the tomato sauce that gets into the dish is smooth and without lumps. Are you missing something? The Brandy. Add that along with vodka right into the sauce. Now put it back on the heat.

Season and simmer – Now add your salt and pepper into the alcoholic mix and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

Bring in the Cream and Herbs – Get the pan off the heat, add some of that heavy cream to the sauce mix and stir. Follow by mixing in the fresh basil and oregano.

The Big Finale – Add the drained pasta into the sauce and add pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. Toss and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce completely.

Serve With Parmesan – The pasta is ready to be served. Plate it with a nice even spread of grated parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil.

Want pasta cooked in white wine next? Try some Orecchiette served with sauteed broccoli rabe and Italian sausage or Spaghetti with shrimp, calamari, mussels and clams, tomato and pepperoncini from the best Italian restaurant NYC.

Time for Tips

Pasta is easy to make and always comes out better than you expect it to be. But we’d like to give you some tips that’ll make sure your pasta always tastes divine.

Use fresh ingredients- This is for all the herbs you’re adding into the dish

Use high-quality ingredients- This is for all the ingredients (from the pasta to the tomatoes, the brandy and vodka, heavy cream and vegetables). We’re not saying add luxury ingredients, just ensure they’re good quality produce.

Don’t overcook your pasta- You don’t want it all soggy

Don’t overseason the pasta- You can always add more but never reduce, go slow with your salt and pepper

Crush tomatoes before adding to the sauce- This way you’ll get a smoother texture and not any lumps

Let the sauce cook long enough- This will simmer away the strong taste of alcohol and help bring the flavors of the sauce to life

Also Read: Pasta Designed To Cater To Every Dietary Restriction

The sauce is delicious and will go with any type of pasta you like. Just couple it with a side of breadsticks and you’re good to go.

Now, are you ready to spike your pasta sauce?