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Penne with Vodka Sauce Recipe

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Simple, slow simmered ingredients come together for delicious flavour perfect for an ordinary meal or a special occasion. Simple, tasty food at its finest.

Course Main Course
Keyword vodka sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people who like a lot of vodka sauce on their penne
Author The Spirited Thrifter


  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped small (I use white onions because they're sweeter)

Melt butter with oil in large saucepan. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. It's never a bad idea to set a timer.

  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained but reserve juice

Add tomatoes to the saucepan and cook over low to medium heat until almost no liquid remains, stirring frequently. This takes a good 25 minutes. No judgment if you sip some vodka while you're cooking. *Except if you're a kid chef THEN NO.

  • 1 cup cream (I used half and half here but have also made this recipe with 18% and heavy whipping cream and it tastes great with any of them)
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste BUT heat builds up before you know it, so add a bit at a time and let the flavours combine before adding more)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add cream, vodka, red pepper flakes and sugar to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes till thickened - thickness will vary depending on the cream you used.

Add some of the reserved tomato juice to the saucepan get the desired saucy thickness you prefer. I like lots of sauce on my pasta so I added a good 1/3 cup to the saucepan.

  • 1 box penne unless you're me (poor judge of pasta) then you make 2 boxes which is actually enough to feed A LOT of people, so don't do that.

Cook pasta while making the sauce.

  • 1 block Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


  1. You could toss the pasta and sauce together IF YOU'RE CRAZY or if you don't have kids and can act with such wanton abandon. 

  2. I prefer to serve the pasta and sauce separately and let people make up their own minds how much sauce they want on their pasta. My daughter had a bit, I had a lot and everyone was happy. #balance

  3. Top with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese.