ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Vodka-Cream Sauce with Penne

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Hands-on time 40 mins
Total time 40 mins

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This is an old-school favorite with sophisticated flair. The vodka perks up the tomatoes, and the cream makes the sauce rich and smooth. Try stirring in pulled chicken or cooked ground turkey.


  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

How to Make It

  1. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add tomato sauce and red pepper, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in vodka, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Remove garlic cloves. Add cream and Parmesan cheese; stir until well incorporated and cheese is melted. Stir in cooked pasta, and top with parsley. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.