Make our vodka pasta, also known as penne alla vodka, then check out our one-pan sausage pasta, penne arrabbiata, baked feta pasta, cheeseburger pasta, plenty more pasta recipes as well as our best passata recipes.

How to make the perfect vodka pasta: cook's tips

  • Only cook the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant or it will brown too much and add bitterness to the dish. You just want it to warm through until you can smell it.
  • A lot of vodka pasta recipes use tomato purée instead of passata, but we loved the freshness and acidity passata offers, and it also creates a silky, slurpable sauce that clings to the pasta well. You can use 5-6 tbsp of tomato purée with 200ml of water, if you prefer.
  • The alcohol will evaporate during cooking so is only added for an extra dimension of flavour.

How to serve vodka pasta: Serve in shallow pasta bowls, with an extra grating of parmesan and a few basil leaves.

Vodka pasta (penne alla vodka) recipe


  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 50ml vodka
  • 250ml passata
  • 150ml double cream or mascarpone
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g pasta tubes (we used rigatoni)
  • 25g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • basil leaves, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the butter or oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat, cook the garlic and chilli for a few seconds, then add the vodka and bubble for a minute. Add the passata and simmer for 10-15 mins or until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, the sugar and vinegar.

  • STEP 2

    Cook the pasta following pack instructions, and add a ladle of the pasta water to the tomato sauce, along with the cream. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stirring well. Add a little more of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Stir in the cheese until melted and season to taste. Serve with extra parmesan and a few basil leaves.

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Anna Glover profile
Anna GloverSenior food editor

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