Penne Alla Vodka Recipe (One Pot Pasta)
This penne alla vodka recipe is an easy one-pot pasta that can be made in just about twenty minutes using a few simple ingredients.
This penne alla vodka recipe is made using crushed tomatoes, vodka, cream, onions, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pasta. It’s so easy and fast to throw together that this vodka pasta recipe is one of my favorite one-pot pasta recipes.
With fewer dishes to clean up, these one-pot pasta recipes are such a great way to reclaim your time at home. This is one of a small series of one-pot pasta recipes that I’ll be sharing. I’ve got recipes for one-pot mac and cheese, one-pot spaghetti, and one-pot fettuccini alfredo. If you love this penne alla vodka recipe, I hope you come back and try the rest.
What Is Penne Alla Vodka?
Penne alla vodka is a flavorful and creamy tomato-based sauce made with vodka. It’s delicious over pasta and tastes excellent with add-ins like roasted bell peppers or strips of your favorite plant-based chicken. The sauce is rich and creamy from the heavy cream and has sharp but complex undertones from the vodka. Pair that with the savory umami flavor of the onion and garlic and this vodka sauce easily becomes a favorite for anyone who enjoys pasta.
Can Penne Alla Vodka Get You Drunk?
While it’s true that there is alcohol in the vodka used to make vodka sauce, there is not enough to get you drunk from eating the pasta dish. This is because alcohol has a low boiling temperature and doesn’t require much vodka to make vodka sauce. By the time the sauce for penne alla vodka is ready, much of the alcohol has already evaporated. There may still be trace amounts of alcohol though, which is important to know if you are serving sensitive people like children or those recovering from alcohol addiction.
Can You Make Penne Alla Vodka Vegan?
You can make penne alla vodka vegan. I suggest replacing the heavy cream in this recipe with a store-bought or homemade vegan heavy cream substitute and replacing the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast or store-bought vegan parmesan cheese.
Can You Make Penne Alla Vodka In The Instant Pot?
You can make delicious Penne Alla Vodka recipes in the Instant Pot, or any other pressure cooker like the Ninja Foodi. It’s important to note that different brands of penne pasta have different cooking times, and as such, may require a different length of time cooking under pressure. Refer to my easy formula or table below for the cooking time closest to your brand of pasta and cook accordingly.
How long does it take to cook pasta in an Instant Pot?
The best formula for cooking pasta in the instant pot or any pressure cooker is to take the lowest boil time on the pasta box and divide that number in half, then subtract two minutes and cook for that length of time on high pressure, then do a manual release of pressure when the time is up. If the number is odd, just round down to the nearest even number first. Following this method should cook the pasta enough for al dente without overcooking.
|Brand||Box Boil Time||Pressure Cooker Time (High)|
|Barilla Penne||11-12 minutes||3 minutes|
|De Cecco Penne||10-12 minutes||3 minutes|
|Priano Penne||13-15 minutes||4 minutes|
|Garofalo Penne Ziti Rigate||11 Minutes||3 minutes|
|Colavita Penne Rigate||8 Minutes||2 minutes|
How Much Does It Cost To Make Penne Alla Vodka?
Penne Alla Vodka is a pretty cheap recipe to make. It requires pasta, crushed tomatoes, vodka, heavy cream, parmesan, garlic, and some diced onion. With spices aside, at the time of this writing, it costs approximately $3.64 to make one batch of penne alla vodka, or about $.91 cents per serving.
|Half an onion||$.20|
At A Minimum, You’ll Need:
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A set of measuring spoons and cups to measure out ingredients. This is a set of nice stainless steel measuring spoons and cups that will last forever. The printed measurements on these won’t wear off either like most cheaper plastic sets because the numbers are actually etched in.
At least a 10″ nonstick pan or pot to make this recipe or a Ninja Foodi pressure cooker like the one I use in the photos and video below.
Not Required, But It Helps To Have:
Not required, but a garlic press is nice to quickly mince fresh cloves of garlic. This is the one I use and it works great, it’s easy to clean, and can fit a few cloves at a time. It’s also made of really durable stainless steel. The last one I had was a different brand and seemed to be made of some softer alloy, it busted after a few months of regular use. This one is a lot stronger. Once you start using fresh garlic, you’ll never go back to that stuff in a jar.
Not required either, but a bench knife is great for scooping up ingredients from the cutting board and quickly clearing surfaces of crumbs, flour, or bits of food that didn’t make it into your pan. It may not seem it, but a bench knife will become your best friend in the kitchen. This one is stainless steel like mine, and even has a ruler along the edge which is very helpful when cutting things to specific sizes or rolling out dough to a certain thickness.
A Tip For Clean Up
Sometimes when cooking with certain cheeses like grated parmesan like for this penne alla vodka recipe, the cheese can leave behind a film or residue on the pot or pan. One trick I’ve found to easily and quickly clean this up without gunking up a sponge is to scrape it off with a flexible dough scraper.
Since they’re flexible, they can bend and flex into the side of a pan (once it’s cooled) and quickly scrape off anything that sticks; and since they’re plastic, they don’t damage non-stick coatings.
How To Make This Penne Alla Vodka Recipe
You should always start every recipe by gathering your ingredients. This is called “mise en place,” which is a French culinary phrase for having everything in its place and ready for when you start to cook. If you don’t have your ingredients ready, you end up running around the kitchen wild trying to measure or chop ingredients before your recipe burns. If you have everything ready, you can add ingredients as you need them because they’re already prepared.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat and add the onions, cooking until the onions are translucent and soft, three to five minutes.
Add the garlic, breaking it up and stirring it in with the onions until the garlic is no longer raw, about thirty seconds to about a minute. Garlic can burn quickly so proceed to the next step before it browns.
Add about two shots or a quarter cup of vodka, cooking until reduced like in the photo above, about a minute. This helps to deglaze the pan, which just means unsticking all the extra flavors and sugars that stuck to the pan and reincorporating them back into the sauce using a liquid — in this case, vodka.
Add the crushed tomatoes, spices, and salt; then cook until this mixture reduces down to something that resembles a paste. This helps to remove excess water from the tomatoes so that the sauce doesn’t end up too thin, while also helping to release and concentrate flavors from the herbs and spices.
Then add the water (or broth) and pasta, giving it a stir to dissolve the tomato sauce mixture into the water.
If Making On The Stovetop:
Reduce the heat to medium, then cover the pan with a lid cooking until the noodles are done per package instructions or to your taste. Stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
If the noodles aren’t cooked to your liking by the time the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, just add an extra quarter cup of water and give it a stir.
For Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Pressure Cooker:
Close the lid and cook on high pressure for two to four minutes, depending on what the chart above suggests for your brand of pasta or choosing the time that most closely matches your boil time.
When the time is up, do a manual release of pressure by turning the valve and waiting for the hissing to stop or until it’s safe to open. Then open it and proceed to the next step.
When the pasta is done to your liking and the water has been absorbed by the pasta, the tomato mixture should be the consistency of a tomato sauce.
Add the cream and parmesan and stir it for a minute or two until the parmesan has melted into the sauce and the sauce resembles the GIF below.
Enjoy this as-is or top it with more cheese or add in any extras you might like at this point. I like to sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes to melt it and give it some nice caramelized brown spots.
Penne Alla Vodka (One Pot Pasta)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 oz of penne pasta
- 2 1/2 cups water or broth
- 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/2 onion, diced small
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping
- 1 tsp salt
Using a pan over medium-high heat or the saute mode of your multi-function pressure cooker, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook until translucent and soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until no longer raw.
Pour in the vodka and cook, stirring, until mostly evaporated; about a minute. Then add the crushed tomatoes, spices, herbs, and salt. Cook until this resembles a paste, stirring occasionally.
Add the water and pasta, stirring to dissolve the paste into the water and mixing everything together.
Reduce the heat to medium, then cover the pan with a lid cooking until the noodles are done per package instructions or to your taste. Stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking together. If the noodles aren’t cooked to your liking by the time the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, just add an extra quarter cup of water and give it a stir, then continue to simmer until it’s done.
FOR INSTANT POT, NINJA FOODI, OR PRESSURE COOKER:
Close the lid and cook on high pressure for two to four minutes, depending on what the table above suggests for your brand of pasta or choosing the time the table suggests that most closely matches your boil time. When the time is up, do a manual pressure release by turning the valve and waiting for the hissing to stop or until it’s safe to open. Then open it and proceed to the next step.
Stir in the cream and parmesan cheese, stirring until the parmesan cheese melts into the sauce. At this point, stir in any add-ins or top with more cheese, then serve and enjoy!
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