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A pan of just-baked penne alla vodka.

Baked Penne Alla Vodka

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4.7 from 3 reviews


From Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest Super Simple


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 28-oz can crushed (or whole peeled) tomatoes
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and chopped
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 16-oz whole milk ricotta
  • 8-oz fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil, for serving, optional


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the vodka and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by one-third, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and a large pinch each salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce over medium heat until reduced slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the penne and cook for about 6 minutes (or about 4 minutes under suggested al dente cooking time.) Reserve one cup of pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta and run under cold water.
  3. When the pasta sauce has finished cooking transfer it to a blender or use an immersion blender to purée until smooth — you may need to add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to thin. I’ve been adding about a cup of pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Add the sauce and parmesan and stir to combine.
  5. Heat the oven to 425ºF. In a medium bowl stir together the heavy cream and ricotta.
  6. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to a 9×13-inch baking pan. Top with the ricotta mixture, spreading to cover evenly. Top with the remaining pasta. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and scatter evenly over top. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Garnish with basil, if using, and more parmesan, if you wish.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian