Penne Alla Vodka
Difficulty level: Easy
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I love pasta! I love it so much I tend to crave a bowlful everyday, but I'm trying to be good so I have it every now and then. Penna Alla Vodka is on the top of my mind when I decide to have pasta and it's pure luxury. It has a creamy and vibrant sauce made with a shot of vodka.

Although there’s vodka in the recipe, this is cooked off so you can’t actually taste it. It’s simply used as a flavour enhancer, making your food smell and taste better. The vodka in this recipe also acts as an emulsifier to help the tomato sauce combine easier with the cream and cheese, so it’s perfectly safe for younger people to eat too.

If you’re not keen on using alcohol in cooking, simply omit it. You will still have a deliciously creamy pasta sauce.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time
30-35 minutes

 2 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp. chilli flakes

2 ½ tbsp. vodka

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 fl. oz. water

1 tsp. salt, plus extra 

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

3 fl. oz. double cream

1 oz. parmesan (or any hard Italian cheese), finely grated

12 oz. penne pasta

To garnish

Parmesan (or any hard, Italian cheese), finely grated

Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

  1. Place a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and once it’s up to temperature, add the shallots and garlic cloves. Cook until fragrant for about 3-5 minutes. Next, stir in the chilli flakes and cook for another minute.
  2. Carefully pour in the vodka. At this point you need to flambé the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring frequently. (Please do this safely as this can cause a big flame). If you are not confident with this method, continue to cook through for about 5-6 minutes or until most of the alcohol has evaporated.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 8 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the instructions.
  5. Pour the sauce into a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan. Ensure the heat is on a low-medium. Gently stir in the cream and cheese and continue to cook until the cheese has completely melted.
  6. Once you’ve drained the pasta, add it to the sauce and mix well so that the pasta is thoroughly coated.
  7. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of more cheese and some coriander.

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