Penne With Vodka Sauce Recipe

They are so many versions of penne with vodka sauce that were so fashionable in Italy around the 80s and then forgot by almost. I came up with this one after a trip back from Moscow were I had a chance to put my hands on a good bottle of vodka even though you don't need to fly there to get the same bottle.

My Tweak to Penne with Vodka Sauce...

Joke aside, an evening once back home I decided to make what after turned to be a tweak to the famous so called in Italy “penne alla vodka”. Because I too forgot about this recipe it just happen to be that the bottle of vodka came out noticed awakening my memories, my 70s when I teenager used to gather with friends to enjoy a meal and penne with vodka sauce were one of those.

My Good Bottle of Vodka from Moscow

Today, many years later after a couple of attempts I got the correct ratios between ingredients making a good vodka taste flavorful rich for me. The pairing fell on vodka of course, smoked salmon and cherry tomatoes, I thought this would make a different vodka sauce with penne and a good one too. The best choice from both countries Italy and Russia were standing.

Ingredients are all common expect fresh chives depending on where you live, while freeze-dried chives can be found in small containers at a nearby grocery store.

Enough for 4 persons are:

  • 12 oz. (350g)  pasta penne shape
  • 1 cup (250ml) of fresh heavy cream
  • ¼ of onion
  • 3.75 oz. (100g) cherry tomatoes 
  • ½ cup (100ml) of dry vodka
  • 1.8 oz. (50g) smoked salmon
  • 1 oz. (30g) of butter
  • 1 tbsp (15g) freeze-dried chives
  • 1 spoon of tomato paste

Just a little note here, as you seen within this vodka sauce recipe I never mentioned the salt and that's because the smoked salmon is already tasty by it self, instead regularly add salt to pasta water while cooking.

Ingredients for the Vodka Sauce
Small Penne
Freeze-Dried Chives

Pick up first the cherry tomatoes, wash them and cut them into quarters. Then cut into thin strips the smoked salmon.

1 oz (100g) of Cherry Tomatoes
Cut Cherry Tomatoes in Quarters
Cut in Thin Strips the Smoked Salmon

Also a quarter of onion must be finely chopped so ready to be added to the pan were you previously melt 1 oz (30g) of butter. Now you can add the 1.8 oz (50g) of smoked salmon, give a stir and start cooking for about 2 minutes at medium heat until the salmon turns in a pale pink color.

Add the Onion to the Butter
Add the Smoked Salmon Too
Pour Over the Vodka
Add the Quarters of Cherry Tomatoes to the Mixture

Take the glass or ½ cup (100ml) of vodka and pour it over the mixture of onion and salmon, then bring in the quarters (4 oz 100g) of cherry tomatoes and give an extra stir.

Add a Tablespoon of Tomato Paste

A spoon of tomato paste will give to the sauce taste and color too as the cherry tomatoes alone will not make it playing almost a garnish role once plated.

Add 1 Cup (250ml) of Fresh Heavy Cream

Add 1 cup (250ml) of fresh heavy cream, stir until the mixture turns pink and well-blended. Just the quarters of cherry tomatoes will remain whole over the sauce. Sprinkle just a part of chives over the vodka sauce in the pan and keep some a side to sprinkle at the end over the finished plate.

The sauce is ready and the penne must be ready too! Move the pan aside and cook the penne if you haven't yet (I usually prepare the sauce meanwhile the pasta cooks). Once ready you can pour the penne in the warm pan and give a few stirs to mix the whole together.

Add The Penne to The Vodka Sauce

Here we are the penne with vodka sauce and salmon are ready to be served warm with the last sprinkle of chopped chives for a further garnish.

Penne With Vodka Sauce and Smoked Slamon

Penne With Vodka Sauce Recipe



Total Time:




  • 12 oz (350g) pasta penne shape
  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh heavy cream
  • ¼ onion
  • 3.75 oz. (100g) cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup (100ml) dry Vodka
  • 1.8 oz. (50g) smoked salmon
  • 1 oz. (30g) butter
  • 1 tbsp (15g) freeze-dried chives
  • 1 spoon of tomato paste

Cooking Directions:

  1. Finely chop the ¼ of onion and let it wither in the pan with the butter.
  2. Reduce the smoked salmon into thin strips and add them to the onion and butter.
  3. Pour over the whole ½ cup of dry vodka and let it evaporate.
  4. Cut each cherry tomato in quarters and saute briefly with the salmon.
  5. Add a spoon of tomato paste and finally add the fresh heavy cream.
  6. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the whole thing with a part of the chopped chives.
  7. Cook the pasta al dente, drain it and move it to the pan with the freshly prepared sauce and serve hot with a last garnish of chopped chievs.
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