This Penne alla Vodka with Chicken is a delightful 30-minute pasta dinner that rivals the taste of a restaurant-quality dish.
The combination of tender chicken breast and penne pasta in a creamy tomato vodka sauce is sure to win hearts, whether you’re planning a romantic date night or a busy weeknight dinner.
This is an easy pasta recipe that is both simple and delicious.
The combination of the creamy vodka sauce and chicken make it a crowd-pleasing dish.
To make this pasta dinner special, try adding a few extras like capers or olives to the sauce for a little added flavor. The possibilities are endless!
No matter what you choose to add, this Penne alla Vodka with Chicken is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
So make it your go-to recipe for busy weeknights and special occasions alike!
Ingredients You’ll Need for The Chicken Penne alla Vodka
(See the recipe card below for full ingredient list with quantities & instructions)
- Penne pasta
- Chicken breast
- Olive oil
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Heavy cream
- Crushed red pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Penne alla Vodka with Chicken
- Boil the Pasta: Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
- Prepare the Chicken: Pound the chicken breast flat, season both sides with your desired seasoning, and sauté it in a skillet until fully cooked. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover it, and let it rest. After resting, slice the chicken and set aside.
- Saute Onions and Garlic: In the same skillet, sauté the diced onions and fresh garlic until they become translucent and aromatic. Next, deglaze the bottom of the skillet with vodka, allowing the alcohol to cook off.
- Make the Vodka Sauce: To the sautéed onions and garlic, add the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then let it simmer until the homemade sauce slightly thickens.
- Combine and Serve: Stir the cooked penne pasta into the vodka sauce along with Parmesan cheese, continuing to stir everything together. Add the sliced chicken to the pasta and sauce, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve your Chicken Penne alla Vodka and enjoy!
What Is Vodka Sauce?
Vodka sauce is a creamy tomato-based pasta sauce with Italian origins that is typically used on pasta. It is a popular Italian-American sauce known for its rich and velvety texture with a subtle hint of vodka flavor.
As the name suggests, vodka is one of the primary ingredients, along with crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, and typically a variety of seasonings like garlic, onions, and herbs.
Tips for Making Perfect Vodka Sauce Pasta
Vodka sauce pasta recipe tips
- Quality Ingredients: The flavors in this dish are simple, so using good quality ingredients will make a big difference in the finished dish. Use a premium brand of vodka and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cook Pasta Al Dente: For the best results, cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means that it should still have a bit of a bite to it. This will keep the pasta from becoming too soft when it is mixed with the sauce.
- Don’t Rush the Sauce: Allow the sauce to simmer for a while to let the flavors meld together. This will also allow the alcohol in the vodka to cook off, leaving just the flavor behind.
- Save Some Pasta Water: Before draining your pasta, be sure to save a cup of the pasta water. The starchy water can be added to your sauce if it gets too thick, and also helps the sauce to cling to the pasta better.
- Add Vodka Last: Adding the vodka last and then cooking it down ensures that the raw alcohol taste cooks off, and leaves behind a subtle, sweet flavor that complements the tomatoes and cream.
- Adjusting the Heat: If you prefer a spicier dish, add more crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
Can Chicken Penne Vodka be made Gluten free?
Absolutely! Making gluten-free Chicken Penne alla Vodka is entirely possible and just as delicious. To do so, simply substitute the regular penne pasta with a gluten-free variety. There are many pasta options available these days, including pasta made from rice, corn, quinoa, or a blend of different grains.
Penne alla Vodka Variations to Try
While this chicken vodka pasta recipe is a classic and beloved in its own right, the beauty of cooking lies in the freedom to be creative and adapt to personal taste preferences.
You can experiment with a variety of ingredients and modifications to make this dish uniquely yours.
Here are some vodka pasta variations you may want to try!
- Classic Penne alla Vodka: Penne alla Vodka is as easy to make as it is delightful to devour. With simple steps and everyday ingredients, you’ll have a restaurant-worthy dish ready in a flash
- Shrimp Penne alla Vodka: Replace chicken with succulent shrimp for a sea
- Vegan Penne alla Vodka: Create a dairy-free version of the sauce by using cashew cream or coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Omit the chicken or replace it with plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh.
- Mushroom Penne alla Vodka: Add mushrooms to the vodka sauce for a rich and earthy flavor.
Try These Easy Pasta Recipes
This Penne alla Vodka with Chicken is a delicious pasta dinner that can be prepared in just 30 minutes. It tastes just as good as a dish you'd find in a restaurant
Whether you're hosting a dinner party or looking for an elevated weeknight dinner, Penne alla Vodka with Chicken is a scrumptious option that's sure to impress.
Enjoy this comforting meal with a side of garlic bread, and you have the perfect dinner for any night of the week.
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup plain vodka
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 medium sweet onion chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- Sal and pepper to taste
For the Penne
- Cook the Penne Pasta: Follow the instructions on the packaging to cook your penne pasta. Once it's cooked, drain it and set it aside for later.
For the Chicken
- Prepare the Chicken: Take your chicken breasts and pound them until they're flat. Season both sides with your desired seasoning, then sauté them in a skillet until they're fully cooked. Transfer your chicken to a cutting board, cover it, and let it rest. After it's rested, slice the chicken and set it aside for later.
For the Vodka Sauce
- Saute Onions and Garlic: Use the same skillet to sauté your diced onions and chopped garlic. Keep them on the heat until they're translucent and aromatic. Deglaze your skillet with vodka, allowing the alcohol to cook off.
- Make the Vodka Sauce: Add your crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, oregano, and hot pepper flakes to the sautéed onions and garlic. Bring everything to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Combine and Serve: Stir your cooked penne pasta into the vodka sauce, then add your Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring everything together, then add your sliced chicken. Season everything with salt and pepper to taste, then serve your Chicken Penne alla Vodka and enjoy!
Tips for making perfect vodka sauce pasta:
- Use quality ingredients like premium vodka and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cook the pasta al dente to maintain a firm texture.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for flavors to meld and alcohol to cook off.
- Save pasta water to adjust sauce consistency and improve adherence.
- Add vodka last to ensure a subtle, sweet flavor.
- Adjust heat by adding more crushed red pepper flakes for a spicier dish.
Amount Per Serving Calories 517Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 95mgSodium 479mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 5gSugar 10gProtein 34g