Simple Penne alla Vodka

Very simple recipe adopted from Food Network


  • ½ stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smacked flat
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • ¾ cup canned tomato puree (better if you puree canned whole tomatoes)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ pound cooked ham, especially prosciutto or other Italian ham, finely chopped
  • 2 drops hot sauce like Tabasco, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in vodka, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 4 minutes.
  4. Add tomato puree and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in ham, Tabasco, salt, and pepper.
  6. Keep sauce warm over very low heat.
  7. Cook pasta in 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every 4 quarts water) until al dente.
  8. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  9. Add pasta to sauce and toss with sauce and cheese, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

You could add some fresh basil along with the ham, if you want.


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