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Penne with Vodka Sauce

WebMD Recipe from

Total Time: 35 mins

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Our velvety tomato sauce is spiked with cubes of salty capicola and a few shots of vodka. Make it a Meal: Caesar salad and a glass of Pinot Noir will shine with this dish.


  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 1 to 2 ounces capicola, or pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste


Step 1
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until just tender, 12 minutes or according to package directions.
Step 2
Meanwhile, cook capicola (or pancetta) in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Step 3
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.
Step 4
Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the capicola (or pancetta), basil and pepper.

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