Impress your family or friends with this Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken. Make a restaurant-quality vodka sauce at home with simple ingredients.
Make Your favorite Italian restaurant pasta dish at home
If penne alla vodka with chicken is your go-to when dining at an Italian restaurant, learn to make it at home. In just a few steps and within 40 minutes, you can indulge in a restaurant-quality meal right at your own table.
This penne alla vodka with chicken is the epitome of a dish that both sounds and tastes fancy, but it’s surprisingly easy to prepare. While it features perfectly cooked al dente pasta and flavorful chicken, the true star of the show is the creamy vodka sauce that brings everything together.
If you’ve never cooked with vodka before, now is the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Incorporating vodka into your cooking adds an extra layer of depth to the dish as it enhances the already robust flavor profiles of the simple ingredient list.
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups
- Frying pan or skillet
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Liquid measuring cup
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Cheese grater
This is a fun dish to make with a friend or loved one. Pour a glass of wine and turn them into your sous chef! Have them mince the cloves of garlic or chop the onions as you measure the other ingredients.
- Pasta water
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Italian seasoning
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salted butter
- Yellow onion
- Tomato paste
- Parmesan cheese
Even though it is called penne alla vodka with chicken, you can substitute another pasta shape if you like. I recommend rigatoni or ziti for this dish but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
It is so easy to make this recipe into a gluten-free pasta dish. Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta instead.
Looking to make a low carb dish? Leave the pasta out of it make a delicious chicken alla vodka that you can serve with zucchini or roasted cauliflower.
The vodka sauce in this penne alla vodka goes well with other meats, too. This recipe would be just as delicious with a different protein like sweet or spicy Italian sausage or meatballs. You could even cook up some shrimp and toss it in at the end!
Vegetarian or just want to make a simple meat-free meal? This pasta can be enjoyed by itself without the chicken.
Vodka sauce is traditionally made with heavy cream, but with the chicken I like to make it with whole milk instead. If you want a super thick and creamy sauce, feel free to use heavy cream.
To change up the flavor slightly, use shallots in place of the yellow onion or cloves garlic.
To add some spice to this dish season with a big of red pepper flakes just before serving. Some people will say the spice is an essential part of a vodka sauce, but I find it to be totally optional.
So what is vodka sauce exactly?
Vodka sauce is a creamy tomato-based sauce used in Italian-American cuisine that combines tomatoes or tomato paste, onions, garlic, milk, parmesan, and a splash of vodka.
You will not taste the vodka but it adds a touch of richness that enhances the overall flavors. It adds a tang that you cannot get without deglazing the pan with something like vodka.
How to make penne alla vodka with chicken
Step 1: boil pasta and saute chicken
To start, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Then, drain the pasta and set it aside.
Next, cut the chicken into small pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat while you cut the chicken.
When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan along with the Italian seasoning. Toss to coat and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked through.
Step 2: Prepare the sauce
Next, remove the chicken from the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Place butter in the skillet.
Once the butter is melted, add diced onion and minced garlic to the pan. Cook until soft and fragrant – about 3 minutes.
Next, add tomato paste to the skillet, and mix with the garlic and onion. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
Step 3: add vodka and mix everything together
Next, slowly pour the vodka into the pan to mix with the tomato paste. Continue to cook the vodka until the alcohol smell has dissipated.
Then, slowly mix in the pasta water and milk. Increase the heat to medium and mix in the freshly grated parmesan cheese and allow the sauce to simmer for about 4 minutes.
Lastly, mix in the cooked pasta and chicken and toss to coat them in the sauce. Serve with extra fresh parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, fresh basil and crushed red pepper!
make ahead tips and storage
Allow this penne alla vodka with chicken pasta to cool completely. Then, transfer to the fridge. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
This recipe can also be enjoyed as leftovers. To reheat, you can warm it up on the stove and just add a little bit of water to refresh the sauce.
Check out these other pasta recipes
- Mushroom Alfredo Pasta
- Creamy Corn Pasta
- Super Green Pasta Sauce
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Tomato Basil Chicken
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Gnocchi
You can find the full recipe below. If you make this recipe, please rate and review it in the comments, or share it with me on Instagram!
- 8oz pasta
- ½ cup pasta water
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- ½ yellow onion – finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic – minced
- 6oz tomato paste
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1.5 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Boil pasta in heavily salted water, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, drain and set aside.
- Cut chicken into small pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot add the chicken to the pan along with the italian seasoning. Toss to coat and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes – chicken should be cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the skillet and reduce heat to medium low. Place butter in the skillet. Once it is melted add diced onion and minced garlic to the pan.
- Cook until soft and fragrant – about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste to the skillet, mix with the garlic and onion and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour the vodka into the pan mixing with the tomato paste. Continue to cook the vodka until the alcohol smell as dissipated.
- Slowly mix in the pasta water and milk. Increase the heat to medium and mix in the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 4 minutes.
- Mix in the cooked pasta and chicken and toss to coat them in the sauce. Serve with extra fresh parmesan cheese.
- you can use any kind of pasta that you like!
- Substitute chicken with a sweet or spicy sausage instead or leave the chicken out all together