Penne with Vodka Sauce and Mini Meatballs

Total Time:
35 min
10 min
25 min

4 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 8 ounces ground beef chuck
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cloves garlic (1 minced, 2 sliced)
  • 2 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.

  • Meanwhile, mix the beef, 1/4 cup parmesan, the breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 cup basil, the minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with your hands until just combined. Form into 3/4-inch meatballs (about 20). Grate the tomatoes into a medium bowl; discard the skins.

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the meatballs. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook until just golden, about 1 minute. Gradually add the vodka, then the grated tomatoes and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

  • Add the pasta and the remaining 1/4 cup basil to the skillet; toss, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; toss.

  • Photograph by Ryan Dausch

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
Loading review filters...

    Not what you're looking for? Try:

    Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Prosciutto

    Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis