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  • Writer's pictureitslaurenofcourse

Penne Senza Vodka

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

This family-friendly recipe has all the flavor, texture, and color of the original classic minus the booze.

Penne Senza Vodka
Green peas add a little visual and textural contrast to this pink-sauce classic.

Penne Senza Vodka. Huh? I know ... I know ... Penne Alla Vodka. But when I make it for my kids I never put vodka in it, so why bother calling it that, I say! This recipe is a family favorite, paired perfectly with some steamed broccoli or a green salad. I like to include green peas to add both visual and textural contrast because ... It's Lauren, of Course!

Essential equipment: large saucepan or stockpot; colander or strainer; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; box grater; wooden spoon


1 pound uncooked penne rigate 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced

1/3 cup chopped prosciutto or diced pancetta

1, 28 oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan ½ cup green peas

1. Cook noodles to al dente, but not more, and drain. Rinse with cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Clean and dry the pot.

2. Heat the olive oil or butter in the pasta pot and add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the prosciutto or pancetta and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.

“ILOC tip: Use frozen peas for this recipe. It will save you time and money without sacrificing at all on function.”

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, and optional red pepper. Stir to incorporate the prosciutto and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes. Then stir in the cream and cook for 2 minutes longer.

4. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to coat. Add in the cheese and toss well again, then add in the peas.

5. Serve immediately with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.

"Penne" means "pen" in Italian and refers to the quill-like shape of the noodle, punctuated by the angled ends. "Rigate" refers to those lines or grooves along the surface of the pasta. They help hold the sauce to the pasta, especially thick and chunky sauces as in this recipe.

Cook the pasta al dente and no more because once it is added to the sauce it will continue to soften.

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