Recipe for Pasta Penne alla Vodka with or
  Re: (...)
without Pancetta.

Labradors, this sauce is sort of close to the one you posted with the addition of some friendly "spirits"!

This is another family heirloom recipe for Pasta Penne alla Vodka, with or without pancetta. This is not a drunken pasta dish, so don't be fooled by the name! If possible, try to use a good grade of vodka because some of the less expensive vodkas can drastically change the taste of the sauce. Pepper vodka is another variation. The recipe is also vegetarian friendly as well as a meat-eaters dish with or without the addition of pancetta. Either way the sauce is good. It is also a quick recipe, takes the time to boil the water and cook the pasta and by this time the sauce is also done. Takes 10-12 minutes to make. (Again the recipe appears lengthy but it is more rhetoric than active time. The recipes are being typed for an heirloom cookbook for my sons, thus the lengthy recipes).


Pasta Penne Alla Vodka with or without Pancetta

The sauce and pasta will finish cooking at the same time,so drop the pasta into boiling water just after adding the vodka to the sauce. If possible, use premium vodka;(Gray Goose is a good one). Inexpensive brands of vodka can taste harsh in this sauce. Pepper vodka is another option which gives a pleasant flavor and can be substituted for plain vodka.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 servings for a side.


1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounces) , drained, liquid reserved (use San Marzano if possible)
1 tablespoon EV olive oil
4 ounces pancetta , thinly sliced, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup), optional
1/2 small onion , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or to taste0
Table salt for cooking pasta
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, minced
Grated Parma-Reggie for serving


1. Place large pot (Dutch oven) of water on to boil for the pasta.
2. Puree half of tomatoes in food processor until smooth.
3. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding cores.
4. Combine pureed and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup. Should have about 1-2/3 cups). Add enough reserved liquid to equal 2 cups if needed.
5. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. If using pancetta then add it now and cook until crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.
6. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to small bowl and set aside.
7. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan.
8. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around edges, about 3 minutes.
9. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
10. Stir in tomatoes and pinch of salt.

By now the water should be boiling. Add pasta and 1 teaspoon of salt to boiling water. Cook pasta until just UNDER al dente.

11. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. BE CAREFUL OF FLAME Due to alcohol!!!
12. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too fast.
13. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
14. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer it back to Dutch oven.
15. Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs some of sauce, 1 to 2 minutes.
16. Add reserved cooking water a little at a time if sauce is too thick.
17. Stir in basil and reserved pancetta, if using, and adjust seasoning with salt**.
18. Divide pasta among pasta bowls and serve immediately, passing the Parma-Reggie.

**NOTE: Be careful when tasting for salt and add cautiously because of the Parma-Reggie. The cheese may make the dish too salty for some.
Vive Bene! Spesso L'Amore! Di Risata Molto!

Buon Appetito!

  Re: Recipe for Pasta Penne alla Vodka with or by MUSICMAKER (without Pancetta.[br...)
Definitely saving this one! Big THANKS!
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Recipe for Pasta Penne alla Vodka with or by MUSICMAKER (without Pancetta.[br...)
that's how I make mine also - down to garnishing with pancetta or prosciutto. Tasty dish.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.

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