Penne à la vodka recipe

Italian cuisine is undoubtedly the most popular and most preferred European cuisine… it fills people with joy and happiness when they know that they got Italian food cooking in the house 😀 After all, who wouldn’t love food that is prepared with so much love!? Having eaten almost the same Italian food everyone, people have a misconception that it consists of just pastas, pizzas, breads, etc.. they’re the heart of the cuisine, but there’s certainly a lot more out there. There are hundreds of varieties of the same dish and no way do they all taste similar! This recipe that you’re going to read today is a very special family recipe of mine.

Penne à la vodka or Penne all’Arrabbiata is a fiery dish, “Arrabbiata” means angry in Italian, so it is obvious that this is a spicy pasta dish. The sauce consists of the classic Italian ingredients (garlic, olive oil, chilli, tomato, basil) that are taken to a whole new level when the vodka is added and torched to caramelise them and leave a smokey essence behind to enhance the flavours. Then freshly cooked penne is tossed into the lovely red sauce and finished with a generous grating of mozzarella and a sprinkling of some fresh Italian parsley. Your house will probably start smelling like an Italian restaurant while you cook this dish. The recipe can be found below:

  • preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time : 17 minutes
  • Total time : 27 minutes.

This recipe is for 2 servings

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup of penne pasta
  • 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 slit red chilly (de seeded)
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 40 ml vodka
  • water to cook
  • Pinch of sugar
  • salt, pepper, lemon juice ( 1 tsp)
  • dried mixed herbs of choice – 2 tsp
  • fresh basil leaves
  • knob of butter
  • mozzarella/ any preferred cheese to garnish


  1. Start by boiling the pasta. Add PLENTY of water to a pot, generous pinch of salt and a tsp of olive oil. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and stir lightly. Cook according to package instructions or until al dente. Usually it takes upto 10 minutes for penne to get to that texture, but make sure it isn’t undercooked nor over cooked. Al dente means to the bite or slightly raw (90% cooked). In the meanwhile, start preparing the sauce.
  2. The second step is to prepare the tomatoes, start by cutting the tomatoes into half, remove the core and de seed them (don’t throw any juices away, I recommend doing this step over a sieve in order to catch all the juices). FullSizeRender_1.jpgOnce the tomatoes are prepared, put them on a roasting tray with some olive oil and roast until the skin peels off. You can avoid using an oven by blanching the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. Simply add water to a pot, and drop the tomatoes in and boil them until their skin separates  and they are tender. Once they’re roasted/blanched, let them cool for about ten minutes and then remove the skin (it should come out easily with your hand) Add the tomatoes in a food processor or a mixer grinder with some salt, pepper and the tomato juices and process until you get a smooth tomato purée (a little chunky is nice, but make sure you don’t turn it into tomato juice). Use a hand blender if you have one.
  3. Then start preparing the sauce.. to a hot pan, add some olive oil and throw in the chopped garlic, chilly.

    The veggies

    Let them cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the chopped onion, cook until tender. Next, add the vodka to your pan, then using a lighter/ torch burner, flame the vodka and let it burn off . This may be a little dangerous, but if done with precaution, it’s pretty simple, safe and gives fantastic results. Once the flame is gone, add the prepared tomato purée and season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Stir well. Then drain your cooked pasta and add to the sauce (make sure you reserve some of the pasta cooking water). Add the lemon juice, pinch of sugar and some of the pasta cooking water and stir. Let it simmer away for 5-7 minutes on low flame. Once the water has evaporated and the sauce is nice and thick, check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Turn off the flame and add some chopped basil leaves, finish off with butter and cheese and serve. The dish is irresistible and very tasty. It is finger licking good!


    The perfect Penne à la Vodka

    Make this fun-filled and quick recipe and do not forget to let me know how it turns out to be by commenting on the recipe! If you enjoyed my recipe, share it and hit the thumbs up (like) button and do not forget to follow my blog!

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