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Penne alla Vodka Sauce

"This was the first Italian dish I made for my husband and the kids. Not being Italian like them, I was a little nervous. I passed the test! This is now a family-favorite recipe that I usually double for entertaining." —Kathy Kochiss Mongillo, Trumball, Connecticut
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Cook: 45 min.
  • Makes
    7-1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 8 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Hot cooked penne pasta
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese


  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until slightly crisp. Stir in tomato sauce and vodka.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add cream and heat through. Serve sauce with pasta; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Check out our best pasta recipes or if you want more vodka-themed recipes, see our holiday vodka cocktails.
  • Nutrition Facts
    3/4 cup: 265 calories, 22g fat (12g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 1117mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Adele
      Aug 18, 2020

      Iteach5: you can substitute ordinary bacon for the pancetta. I empathize with you. I would have to go fairly far out of my way to get pancetta. I don't drive, and it would be three buses to get there. Not worth my trouble. Feel free to use bacon. HTH!

    • bicktasw
      Aug 18, 2020

      I made this recipe for dinner and I must say it was delicious! It makes quite a lot and since it's only my husband and I, we had leftover for a couple of nights. When I made it I added about 1/3 cup more heavy cream and mixed in about 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan with the pasta. This recipe is a keeper for sure.

    • dancingfool
      Dec 17, 2014

      Very good recipe, very easy to make. My husband and I loved it!

    • pattyguidry
      Dec 29, 2012

      No comment left

    • justmbeth
      Jan 2, 2012

      Recipe did make way too much and I only made 1/2 recipe. I usually love vodka sauce but this one didn't do it for me.

    • Marjade
      Sep 13, 2011

      No comment left

    • iteach5
      Sep 12, 2011

      What can I subtitute for the pancetta? I can't get that without driving quite a distance to the city.

    • Toni51
      Sep 11, 2011

      Thanks for the helpful hints about how much penne to use. I can see that this recipe makes about 9 cups of sauce, for 10 servings. A pound of penne serves 8, according to the box. So, whatever, maybe we will have some great leftover sauce. :-)

    • avidcookGA
      Sep 10, 2011

      The ingredients are similar to Pioneer Woman's but the proportions are quite different. PW uses 3/4 cup of vodka to 14 ounces of tomato sauce.

    • Black Lady
      Sep 10, 2011

      I used Shrimp, very good.