Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until just tender, 12 minutes or according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cook capicola (or pancetta) in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Return the saucepan to medium-low heat; add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add vodka and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce and crushed red pepper to taste; reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the capicola (or pancetta), basil and pepper.
Shopping tip Capicola and pancetta can be found in the deli section of most large supermarkets. Buy one thick piece for this recipe.