Penne Alla Vodka – Instant Pot

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Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with vodka and penne pasta, simmered in a creamy, tomato-based sauce. This luscious, flavorful, restaurant style pasta is a breeze making at home using an Instant Pot! This recipe can be made vegan, alcohol-free.

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

PENNE ALLA VODKA

A classic Italian pasta dish, usually made with heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and garlic, and of-course the soul of this dish, vodka. The vodka or the alcohol, is cooked along with the tomatoes. As the sauce is simmered, the alcohol burns off, thus enhancing the flavors of the sauce.

Penne Alla Vodka is my family’s favorite restaurant dish. I love to cook Italian food. This dish is so simple and flavorful, and with just a few ingredients you can make a wholesome meal in no time. This Penne Alla Vodak recipe is inspired by our local Italian restaurant. It is a huge hit in my family!

INGREDIENTS FOR PENNE ALLA VODKA

1 lb tubular pasta (penne or rigatoni)

28 oz tomatoes, crushed or sauce

1 medium white onion, diced

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, adjust to taste

1/2 cup vodka

1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups water or broth

1/2 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano, grated

Piece of Parmigiana-Reggiano rind [around 1-2 inch], optional

2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper, adjust to taste

Handful of fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Pic Shown: Penne Alla Vodka 

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

HOW TO MAKE PENNE ALLA VODKA

INSTANT POT PENNE ALLA VODKA

You will need INSTANT POT

Turn ON SAUTE (more). When it displays “HOT”, add oil.

Add onions, garlic, oregano, and red chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add Vodka, and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn OFF SAUTE.

Add pasta, salt and pepper to taste, water (or broth), and tomatoes. Do NOT stir.

Note: Add the above ingredients in order, and do NOT stir.

Close the lid, vent sealed. Turn ON MANUAL / PRESSURE COOK (high) for 5 minutes.

Note: Please see the recipe notes on – HOW TO COOK PASTA IN INSTANT POT

Once the Instant Pot beeps, do a quick pressure release. Open the lid.

Add cream, and Parmesan cheese, mix well until cheese melts.

Note: No need to turn ON SAUTE, the cheese will melt in the residual heat.

Garnish with some fresh basil leaves, grated cheese, and red chili flakes (optional).

Enjoy this delicious Penne Alla Vodka. Bon-appetit!!

Pic Shown: Penne Alla Vodka – Instant Pot

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

STOVE TOP PENNE ALLA VODKA

Cook pasta as per package directions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking pasta water for later use. Drain the pasta and keep it aside.

In a Dutch oven, or a pot, heat oil, over medium-high heat.

Add onions, garlic, oregano, and red chili flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add Vodka, and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for 20-25 minutes.

Add drained pasta, mix well to coat the sauce. Turn OFF heat.

Add cream, and Parmesan cheese, mix well until cheese melts.

Garnish with some fresh basil leaves, grated cheese, and red chili flakes (optional).

Enjoy this delicious Penne Alla Vodka. Bon-appetit!!

Pic Shown: Penne Alla Vodka 

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

PRO TIPS FOR DELICIOUS PENNE ALLA VODKA

Vodka, the star ingredient of this dish. Use the vodka that you normally drink, that’s the best kind.

Pasta, this recipe is named after penne pasta. However, any tubular pasta such as penne, rigatoni, elbow macroni, work great in this recipe. This is a pasta dish, and the flavors in this dish mainly come from the sauce. So, feel free to use any kind of pasta you like.

Cooking pasta can be very tricky, specially in an Instant pot (pressure cooker). Here’s how I cook pasta in Instant pot.
For Instant pot cooking, just add enough liquid (water or broth, and crushed tomatoes) to cover the pasta. Reduce the cooking time to “HALF” what is recommend on the box of the pasta, followed by a quick pressure release.

For aldente pasta, I reduce the cooking time to “HALF MINUS ONE”.

Layer crushed tomatoes on top of the pasta and do NOT stir.

Use broth for added flavors. Vegetable or chicken broth, both work fine.

Always add cream, cheese once the pressure cooking is done. The cheese melts in the residual heat. However, you can simmer the pasta for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is incorporated well. Do not overcook the pasta after adding the cream.

Herbs, and spices enhance the flavor of this dish. Feel free to add herbs of your choice. Fresh or dry herbs such as Thyme, oregano or Italian seasoning can also be used to in this recipe.

I like to add some crushed red chili flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat and additional flavor.

VARIATIONS TO PENNE ALLA VODKA

PROTEIN – Add some shrimp or chicken, great way to add some protein into your diet. You can add pre-cooked chicken breasts or some shredded chicken. You can also saute shrimp or chicken in a pan, and add it to the cooked pasta.

VEGGIES – Sometimes, I also like to include some veggies such as peas, broccoli, mushrooms for some added flavor. I add peas just before adding cream. Microwave broccoli for 30-60 seconds and add it to the cooked pasta. Saute mushrooms along with onions and follow the rest of the recipe.

Feel free to use veggies of your choice. I like to rotate the veggies in the pasta, thus enjoying the flavors and nutritional values of different veggies.

LEAFY GREENS – leafy greens add a punch of flavor and nutritional value. You can add kale, or spinach. Add the greens at the end, before adding cream. It takes only couple of minutes for greens to cook.

BROTH – For added flavor and nutritional value, use vegetable or chicken broth.

Pic Shown: Penne Alla Vodka

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

FAQ ABOUT PENNE ALLA PASTA

WHAT VODKA TO USE

Use the vodka that you normally drink, that’s the best kind.

SUBSTITUTE FOR VODKA

Vodka adds a distinct flavor to the sauce when cooked along with tomatoes. I have tried this recipe with sherry and white wine, and they both impart nice flavor to this dish.

ALCOHOL-FREE PENNE ALLA VODKA

Vodka, when simmered along with the tomatoes, the alcohol burns off. Thus, imparting great depth of flavors to this dish. However, you can make this dish alcohol-free as follows:

You can substitute 1/2 cup of white grape juice plus a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar instead of Vodka.

TYPE OF PASTA

Tubular pasta such as penne, rigatoni, elbow macaroni, ziti, work great in this recipe. Recipe uses penne pasta. This is a pasta dish, and the flavors in this dish mainly come from the sauce. So, feel free to use any kind of pasta you like.

TYPE OF TOMATOES

Use good quality tomatoes such as San Marzano’s tomatoes. These tomatoes are less in acidity and are mildly sweet. However, feel free to use tomatoes available. Recipe uses crushed tomatoes. For smooth pasta sauce, use tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes. To make a chunky sauce, use whole tomatoes, and roughly crush them with your fingers.

FOR GLUTEN-FREE PASTA

Instead of regular pasta, use gluten-free pasta. Follow the recipe as discussed.

LIGHTER VERSION OF PENNE ALLA VODKA

The richness in the dish comes from the choice of cream/milk, using heavy cream results in more rich dish. You can use heavy cream, half and half, or evaporated milk in this recipe.

VEGAN PENNE ALLA VODKA

Here are some of the vegan alternatives you can use to make this dish vegan.

VEGAN CHEESE – use dairy-free Parmesan cheese

COCONUT CREAM – use coconut cream or coconut milk.

NUTS – I use cashews to make this dairy-free.

Soak 1/4 cup cashews for couple of hours or until soft. Alternatively, to speed up the process soak cashews in hot water, works just fine. Blend the cashews to a fine paste, using the water the cashews are soaked in and add it to the dish.

KID FRIENDLY PENNE ALLA VODKA

Refer to alcohol-free option discussed earlier. Add more cheese, cream, for more creamier pasta.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR PASTA

Serve this Penne Alla Vodka with some Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli and some Classic Ceasar salad.

HOW TO STORE PASTA

Pasta stays good for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Store it in a clean, glass container. Re-heat the pasta in the microwave. Add a splash of milk or broth and microwave it for a minute or so. Penne Alla Vodka is ready to be devoured!

Pic Shown: Penne Alla Vodka

 

Penne Alla Vodka - Instant Pot

 

 

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SOME MORE PASTA RECIPES FROM BLOG:

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR PASTA

MUSHROOM PASTA

SOME SOUP RECIPES FROM BLOG:

MINESTRONE SOUP

MOROCCAN CHICKPEA TOMATO SOUP

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP

 

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with vodka and penne pasta, simmered in a creamy, tomato-based sauce. This luscious, flavorful, restaurant style pasta is a breeze making at home using an Instant Pot! 
Course Main Dish/Entrees, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword instant pot penne alla vodka, penne alla vodka, penne alla vodka instant pot
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jyoti Behrani

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR PENNE ALLA VODKA

  • 1 lb tubular pasta(penne or rigatoni)
  • 28 oz tomatoes, crushed or sauce
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2– 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano, grated
  • Piece of Parmigiana-Reggiano rind [around 1-2 inch], optional
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, adjust to taste
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

INSTANT POT PENNE ALLA VODKA

  • You will need INSTANT POT
    Turn ON SAUTE (more). When it displays “HOT”, add oil.
  • Add onions, garlic, oregano, and red chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add Vodka, and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn OFF SAUTE.
  • Add pasta, salt and pepper to taste, water (or broth), and tomatoes. Do NOT stir.
    Note: Add the above ingredients in order, and do NOT stir.
  • Close the lid, vent sealed. Turn ON MANUAL / PRESSURE COOK (high) for 5 minutes.
    Note: Please see the recipe notes on – HOW TO COOK PASTA IN INSTANT POT
  • Once the Instant Pot beeps, do a quick pressure release. Open the lid.
  • Add cream, and Parmesan cheese, mix well until cheese melts.
    Note: No need to turn ON SAUTE, the cheese will melt in the residual heat.
  • Garnish with some fresh basil leaves, grated cheese, and red chili flakes (optional).
  • Enjoy this delicious Penne Alla Vodka. Bon-appetit!!

STOVE TOP PENNE ALLA VODKA

  • Cook pasta as per package directions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking pasta water for later use. Drain the pasta and keep it aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, or a pot, heat oil, over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, oregano, and red chili flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add Vodka, and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for 20-25 minutes.
  • Add drained pasta, mix well to coat the sauce. Turn OFF heat.
  • Add cream, and Parmesan cheese, mix well until cheese melts.
  • Garnish with some fresh basil leaves, grated cheese, and red chili flakes (optional).
  • Enjoy this delicious Penne Alla Vodka. Bon-appetit!!

Notes

  1. HOW TO COOK PASTA IN INSTANT POT- just add enough liquid (water or broth, and crushed tomatoes) to cover the pasta. Reduce the cooking time to “HALF” what is recommend on the box of the pasta, followed by a quick pressure release.
  2. For aldente pasta, I reduce the cooking time to “HALF MINUS ONE”.
  3. For vegan, alcohol-free, penne alla refer to - FAQ ABOUT PENNE ALLA VODKA
  4. Please refer to the post for the following:
    • PRO TIPS FOR DELICIOUS PENNE ALLA VODKA
    • VARIATIONS TO PENNE ALLA VODKA
    • FAQ ABOUT PENNE ALLA VODKA

 

 

Jyoti Behrani

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

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