Penne with Vodka Sauce

I love pasta. I could never do a carb-free diet… because, I love pasta.

When I was a little girl, the only thing I would eat was Macaroni and Cheese in the Blue Box. And then my pasta diet grew up a little bit to pasta with butter and balsamic vinegar. (I had some recently, and it’s still delicious!) I love pasta.

Now, my favorite pasta sauce is Vodka Sauce. And I’d always wanted to try making my own. Then I found a recipe on a friend’s food blog. So I made it! It takes time to make because the sauce actually gets baked in the oven, but I multi-tasked and while the sauce was doing its thing, I prepared dinner for the following night! When I opened the oven to pull out the sauce, it smelled like Italy. Okay, so I haven’t actually been to Italy, but it’s what I imagined Italy would smell like. I would also advise to not skip out on the fresh oregano. I’ve been known to substitute dried herbs in lieu of purchasing fresh (because I can’t grow my own…) but in this recipe, I’m glad I didn’t. The best bites were those with some fresh oregano. I love pasta.

Penne with Vodka Sauce


  • 1/8 C olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes depending on your spicy preference
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 C vodka
  • 6 roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 lb penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large, oven-proof skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat. When translucent, add garlic, pepper flakes, dried oregano, S+P. Pour in vodka and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
  3. Put the peeled tomatoes in the pan and crush with a potato masher. Season with S+P, cover, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Cook pasta according to box directions.
  5. Blend cooled tomato sauce and heavy cream and puree until smooth. Return to the stove and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 3/4 of the fresh oregano, S+P. Toss in the pasta and parmesan cheese.
  6. Garnish with remaining oregano, extra Parmesan, and red pepper flakes if desired.

*This recipe makes 2-3 servings and is modified from Tara at*


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