Barbara’s Penne Alla Vodka

Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite…her granddaughter Stefani could live on this alone!


Servings: 8-10

  • Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)
  • 2 lbs. Penne pasta with the lines (sauce sticks to it better)
  • 6 Tablespoons of salted butter
  • 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a bigger kick)
  • 6-8 shakes red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1/2 lb. very thin sliced Prosciutto, shred into pieces with your fingers
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1 qt heavy cream (light cream can also be used)
  • 4 cups of already prepared basic tomato sauce
  • 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, diced Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)


  • Saute garlic and prosciutto in melted butter in deep skillet.
  • Add salt, cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes.
  • Add vodka to deglaze and stir well.
  • Add cream, red sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese. Add mozzarella just before it comes to a boil to avoid mozzarella from balling up.
  • Simmer & stir until it comes to a boil, don’t overcook
  • Pour 2 ladles of vodka sauce over cooked penne to coat.
  • Use remaining sauce to top individual servings.

Basic Tomato Sauce


  • 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano whole tomatoes (break up with your hands or a ricer)
  • 1 lb. Italian sweet or hot sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • fresh basil leaves (cook in sauce plus some for garnish)


  1. Pour 2 tablespoons EVOO in heavy duty 8-quart pot
  2. When the oil is hot, add sausage links and brown both sides
  3. Remove browned sausage links and set aside.
  4. Add onion and cook until lightly browned and translucent
  5. Add garlic and stir well for 1 minute
  6. Add tomatoes, butter, oregano, and a few basil leaves , and the browned sausages.
  7. Stir well and often to prevent burning on the bottom while simmering for at least 1 hour (the longer it cooks the better)
  8. When done, remove the sausage links that can be saved for a different meal or serve with your favorite pasta dish.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.
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2 thoughts on “Barbara’s Penne Alla Vodka

  1. Sounds scrumptious! I will definitely try this recipe this weekend! and I will let you know how it came out!


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