This Penne alla Vodka without vodka is probably one the easiest, most delicious pasta recipes you can cook. They are made with olive oil, fresh garlic, canned tomatoes, white wine, and heavy cream for the perfect emulsion. They look pretty, kids love them, and as if that wasn’t enough: you can have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes!
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Can you make Penne alla Vodka without vodka?
The answer to this question is yes, of course! You do with recipes what you want. To be honest, in my case, the only reason I started to make this pasta alla vodka without vodka it’s because I didn’t have vodka handy. However, my no vodka sauce turned out to be so good that 12 years later, I’m still making this pasta regularly and completely forgot about the traditional vodka sauce. By the way, I’ll share my vodka sauce, anytime.
It all started when I moved to a small town in Southern California, back in 2008. We went for lunch at Dattilo’s, a family restaurant, and one of us ordered a pasta bowl with a creamy pinkish tomato sauce. Like everything in Dattilo’s, that pasta was delicious.
When I tasted it, vodka sauce came immediately to my mind. I recreated Dattilos’s pasta, a few days later. But I didn’t have any vodka. So, I used white wine instead, and the result is today’s recipe, which is one of my family’s favorite pasta dishes.
About vodka sauce
Penne alla vodka became very popular in the ’70s and ’80s. According to Wikipedia, its origins are unclear. The first reference to this delicious recipe was found in Ugo Tognazzi’s cookbook L’Abbuffone: stories da ridere e ricetta di morire. There, he included his recipe of pasta all’infuriata.
Tognazzi described it “as a sort of pasta all’arrabbiata, made with ½ kg of penne, ½ kg of fresh peeled tomatoes, a shot of vodka, chili pepper, oil, garlic, and bay leaves.”
With the addition of heavy cream, vodka sauce became very popular not only in Italy but also in America where, as you may know, we love to add cream to almost everything.
How to make quick vodka sauce without vodka
While living in California, where I grew my own tomatoes, I used to make this sauce with my own basic tomato sauce. Now that I live in Miami, I use canned organic tomato sauce and the result is simply perfect.
To make this sauce, sauté two or three garlic cloves in a deep saucier with olive oil and pepperoncino. Once the garlic is golden brown, add the tomato sauce and let it boil. When the sauce is boiling, add the wine and simmer it for 20 minutes, uncovered.
To avoid any tomato splatter, use a splatter guard. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and add the heavy cream and stir until well combined, and reserve it. You’re supposed to discard the garlic cloves, but if you take them out of the sauce and spread them on a piece of rustic bread, you’ll be forever grateful.
In the meantime, cook the penne noodles al dente and once they are done, strain them and add them to the sauce. Stir and grate abundant Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately with more Parmesan cheese, pepperoncini, and fresh parsley.
Penne alla vodka without vodka recipe
Penne alla Vodka without vodka
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 whole garlic cloves crushed with the blade of a knife
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- Peperoncino red pepper flakes
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced
- 1 package penne
- Parmesan cheese I used Parmigiano Reggiano
- Bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente.
- In a medium saucier with a lid, heat the oil and cook the garlic over medium heat until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and cook covered for 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, remove the garlic (you can spread it on rustic bread) and add the heavy cream and reserve.
- Add the cooked pasta into the sauce and stir. Grate as much Parmesan cheese as you want. Stir and serve immediately with a pinch of pepperoncino, parsley and more cheese.