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penne alla vodka with pancetta, penne alla vodka, vodka sauce, coco and ash, pasta,

Penne Alla Vodka with Pancetta

Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Coco and Ash


  • 12 ounces penne pasta (that's 3/4 of a standard size 16 ounce box)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion (about 1 small yellow onion)
  • 8 ounces diced pancetta
  • 3 large cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 - 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Set a salted pot of water to boil on the stove but don't add in the pasta yet.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil, pancetta, and onions. Sauté until the pancetta starts to brown and the onions are softened.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour in the vodka and let it bubble for 2 whole minutes while you scrape up the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add in the tomato sauce, heavy cream, and salt and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes until it has thickened slightly. Make sure you stir it occasionally so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
  • This is a good time to add in your pasta while you wait for the sauce to thicken. (Note: while you CAN add in the entire box, I like to only add in about 3/4 of the box so the dish has tons of sauce at the end!)
  • Once the vodka sauce has thickened, add in the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
  • Garnish with parsley and extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


If your sauce is too thick at the end, just add a few spoonfuls of the starchy water from the boiled pasta. 
If your sauce is too runny, just continue to let it bubble and it will thicken as it cooks.