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Vodka Penne

I absolutely love this dish. It's super easy, super quick, and can be made in no time on a busy night. A punch of tomato, the lusciousness of a touch of cream, and a shit ton of flavor.

Vodka Penne

Makes 3-4 portions


Adding chicken or shrimp is a baller move.


  • 4 Oz Panchetta

  • 3 Garlic Gloves minced

  • 1 Tbs Minced Shallot

  • 1 Tbs Minced Calabrian Chili

  • 1 Tbs Unsalted Butter

  • 1/2 C Tomato Paste

  • 2 Tbs Vodka

  • 1/4 C Heavy Cream

  • .5 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 C Peas

  • 1/2 Lb Dry Penne

  • Fresh Basil Leaves

  • Pecorino Romano


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, with just enough water to cover the amount of pasta you will be cooking.

  2. Once the water boils, cook pasta until just barely al dente. You don't need to cook it all the way here.

  3. Once you add your pasta to the pot, start on your sauce.

  4. Render the pancetta in a large saucepan over medium heat.

  5. Once the pancetta fat turns translucent, drain the fat and reserve 1 Tbs of it in the pan.

  6. With the pancetta still in the pan, add the butter.

  7. Once the butter begins to foam, add the minced shallot. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft and translucent.

  8. Add the Calabrian chili and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

  9. Continue cooking over medium heat until the butter begins to brown and the garlic has just started to toast

  10. Add the tomato paste and mix aggressively until everything is incorporated. Turn up the heat a bit and cook for 1 minute or until most of the moisture is gone.

  11. While this is cooking, reserve 1.5 C of pasta water and set aside. Your pasta should be just about al dente, drain and set the pasta to the side.

  12. Add the vodka. CAREFULLY using a torch, or a flame source to light the vodka. It will flame up for about 5 seconds. While it is burning, give it a few tosses, or stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 seconds. Did I say to be careful? Be careful. If you don't want to see fire, just cook it for 10-15 second longer and the alcohol will cook out.

  13. Turn the heat back to medium and add your heavy cream and pasta water.

  14. Stir well and add the peas.

  15. Once it reaches a simmer, continue cooking for 2 minutes until it goes from a light orange to a darker orange.

  16. Add your pasta and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is fully emulsified and thick.

  17. To serve, spoon into a bowl, smack a few basil leaves between your hands, and lay on top. (Smacking the leaves between your hands releases the oils and the sents. Basically, put them in your palm and clap once or twice)

  18. Top with your pecorino romano, or parmesan, and enjoy!

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