Penne with Vodka Sauce is a quick weeknight dinner. Made with Italian sausage, penne pasta and a vodka cream sauce, everyone is sure to love this easy dish.
Update: This recipe was originally posted in June 2013. The recipe and photos have been updated and improved as of October 2020.
If you’re looking for a creamy penne vodka sauce recipe, you’ve come to the right place. This penne with vodka sauce recipe is not only creamy and delicious, but easy to make. If you can cook pasta, brown Italian sausage and watch a vodka tomato sauce simmer, you can make this recipe.
There are only 9 ingredients in this recipe that takes around 30 minutes to prepare, but you’d think it was full of ingredients and simmered on a stove all day for the amount of flavor it has!
🥘 Ingredients for this recipe
- ground Italian sausage
- penne pasta
- crushed tomatoes
- heavy cream
- parmesan cheese
- crushed red pepper flakes
- fresh basil
🔪 Instructions for this recipe
- Crumble and brown Italian sausage in a skillet. Drain grease, add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.
- While that is simmer, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add penne. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- Stir the vodka, heavy cream and Parmesan into the skillet of sausage and tomatoes and bring back up to a boil. Then stir in cooked pasta. Top with fresh basil and serve.
FAQ’s about penne with vodka sauce
- Can you get drunk off of vodka sauce? No, vodka evaporates when it is cooked.
- Can I make vodka sauce without vodka? Technically, yes. Gin would be a good alternative. But, if you wanted it 100% alcohol free, replace it with water with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- How can I thicken up vodka sauce? By adding more Parmesan cheese the sauce will thicken.
Substitutions and Serving Suggestions
- Italian sausage can be replaced with ground beef, pancetta, or even chicken breast.
- Heavy cream can be replaced with half-and-half.
- Buttered peas or a salad make a great addition to this meal. Serve it with a glass of sauvignon blanc if you’re a wine drinker.
Pasta lover? Check out some of my other pasta dishes:
Want to save this recipe for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board and follow me for more delicious recipes!
Penne with Vodka Sauce
- 16 oz penne pasta
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp vodka
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 3 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain any grease.
- Stir in red pepper flakes, garlic and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package directions, usually 9-11 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Stir the vodka, heavy cream and parmesan into the skillet with the sausage and tomatoes. Bring back up to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta until coated. Top with fresh basil.
- Divide into bowls and serve, topping with additional basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 links Italian sausage
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- 2 tbsp. vodka
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Slice the sausage into 1 ½″ slices and add to the skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring until the garlic has browned.
3. Add crushed tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain.
5. Add the vodka and heavy cream to the skillet and bring to a boil again.
6. Stir in the pasta and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 minute.
7. Stir in the basil, then serve.