This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes.  When my husband used to travel for work, this was the dish that my son and I would always have for dinner.  It is total comfort food to me. It is from the wonderful book Trattoria by Patricia Wells’.   I remember reading a bunch of Amazon reviews before I bought this book and more than one reviewer said that this recipe alone was worth the price of the book.  I could not agree more.  This is by far and away the best Penne with vodka sauce I’ve had.  I deeply love Patricia Wells for this recipe!  Thank you, Patricia,  my Penne with Vodka Sauce angel !!!!

More Pasta Recipes!

Chicken Alfredo – Easy, ultra creamy, rich, decadent and just may be the best pasta recipe ever!

Greek Pasta – An easy dish that your whole family will enjoy—carnivores and herbivores alike!

One Skillet Shrimp and Pasta Scampi – Delicious meal for the family, all conveniently cooked in one skillet!

Source:  Slightly Adapted From Patricia Wells

The Best Penne with Vodka Sauce (IMHO)


  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 6 Garlic Cloves Chopped
  • 1 Pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt
  • 1-28 Ounces Crushed Tomatoes In Puree Canned
  • 1 Pound Dried Penne Pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons Vodka
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Roughly Chopped


  1.  In an unheated skillet large enough to hold pasta later, combine the oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring to coat with the the oil.  Cook over low-moderate heat for 2-3 minutes.  Do NOT brown garlic.  Add crushed tomatoes.  Stir to blend, and simmer, uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  (This step is super important.  The sauce needs to thicken for the flavors to intensify.  So the amount of time you cook it is less important than the consistency.  You may need to cook it longer than 15 minutes.)   Taste for seasoning.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of salt and the penne.  Stir to prevent sticking and cook until al dente.  Drain thoroughly.
  3. Add the drained pasta to skillet with the tomato sauce. Toss. Add the vodka, and toss again, then add the cream and toss.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb sauce.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.