Penne With Vodka Sauce

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Kosher salt

12 ounces penne

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 large shallot or 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

3/4 cup vodka (optional)

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, toss and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vodka, the reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer 1 more minute.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the grated cheese and parsley to the sauce. Cook, tossing, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with more cheese.