What’s Cooking? | Penne in vodka sauce – Ep. 13

On this episode of  “What’s Cooking?” Chef Dave made penne in vodka sauce! After the alcohol is cooked off the vodka adds an extra layer of flavor to the sauce.

People don’t typically cook with alcohol, but it is very easy to do. This also makes your pasta dish seem like it is restaurant quality, with only a small extra step.

For those that want to print & try this recipe you can take it from below.


  • 1 pound of penne pasta
  • 1/2 of a small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup | Heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon | Tomato Paste
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 ounces | Crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons | Dry basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon | Red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup | Vodka
  • Salt
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. Fill pot with water for pasta and begin to heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and until the onion is lightly golden around the edges.
  3. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook stirring for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Remove the pan from the head and add the vodka. Return to the heat on medium-high and simmer briskly for 8-10 minutes, until the alcohol flavor is cooked off.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to water and cook according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water before draining pasta.
  7. Stir in cream and cook for about 1 minute, until hot.
  8. Add the pasta and toss over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. If needed, adjust consistency with reserved water.
  9. Stir in the basil, and season with salt to taste.

Let us know what you think, and how it went if you decided to make it yourself. I’m also always willing to try new things, so feel free to email recipe recommendations to driley@lynntv.org.

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