Bella Napoli's Vodka Penne Pasta

In Italy, pasta is always cooked in the sauce allowing it to soak up the flavors. Use a large skillet to allow room for the penne to nestle in with the sauce.
Photography By Hope Anderson | October 31, 2016


1. Boil pasta in salty water until al dente; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Heat skillet over medium/high; drizzle with olive oil and add pancetta. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Add onions and sauté 10 minutes or until translucent.

2. Carefully add vodka, (will flame up) scraping up browned bits (deglazing) on bottom of pan. Add tomatoes; reduce heat to low, and cook about 5 minutes. Slowly add heavy cream, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add pasta and starchy water to the tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes allowing pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Serve with parmesan, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.


  • 3 cups penne pasta (dry)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces Italian pancetta (or ham)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ cup vodka or white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in puree
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • fresh basil
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