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Spicy Pennoni Alle Vodka

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  • Author: Sydney Isaacs
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A slight twist on Penne Alla Vodka, this pasta dishes embraces the lesser known Pennoni Rigati pasta and adds a spicy kick to a traditional vodka sauce. Garnish with basil, fresh Parmesan, and pair it with a Chianti Classico for an elevated yet comforting dinner.


  • 1 500 g bag of Pennoni Rigati pasta (or penne, rigatoni, etc.)
  • 1 700 g bottle of tomato passata
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1/24 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 freshly grated Parmesan (plus more for serving)
  • Fresh basil for serving


  1. Infuse red chili flakes and minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Give it about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the entire bottle of tomato passata. Fill the empty passata bottle with about 1 cup of water, swirl it around, and add it to the pan as well so you don’t lose any of the residual passata.
  3. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste, allowing this tomato mixture to reduce for about 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about a third. Stir occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  5. Once the sauce has reduced, add the vodka.
  6. Increase the heat to high to cook off the alcohol, about 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat back to medium, add the dried oregano, and allow it to cook for another 15 minutes.
  8. Once the pasta water is boiling, add your pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the length of time recommended on the package.
  9. While the pasta cooks, stir in the cream and reduce the heat to low.
  10. Transfer the cooked pasta from the pot of water to the sauce pan using a slotted spoon and toss to coat.
  11. Add a ladleful of the starchy pasta water to the pasta and sauce, allowing it to reduce for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Stir in the grated Parmesan
  13. Remove the pasta from the heat and serve immediately with some more freshly grated Parmesan and a few fresh basil leaves.