Penne alla vodka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Penne alla vodka
Course Pasta
Place of origin Italy
Main ingredients Penne, vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions
Cookbook:Penne alla vodka  Penne alla vodka

Penne alla vodka is an Italian pasta dish always made with vodka and penne pasta, often made with heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and sometimes sausage or bacon.


The exact origins of penne alla vodka are unclear; there have been multiple claims to the invention of the dish. According to Pasquale Bruno, Jr., author of The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.[1] Other historians of the culinary arts recognize James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University, as the inventor of penne alla vodka.[2]

Paula Franzese, an American law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, has asserted that her father Luigi Franzese, born in Naples, Italy in 1931, devised the first version of penne alla vodka, which he called penne alla Russa because of the addition of the vodka to his tomato and cream sauce base. He allegedly first prepared the dish table side for patrons at the New York City restaurant Orsini in 1973.[3][4][5] One of these patrons was Joe Franklin, a celebrated talk show host at the time who fell in love with the dish. Thereafter, he invited Mr. Franzese onto his talk show several times where he would prepare the dish to the delight of guests that included Ernest Borgnine and Cheryl Tiegs, as well as others. Armando Orsini, the owner of the famed restaurant with famous customers, has also verifed the claim.

The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook states that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.[6]


Luigi Franzese's Penne with Vodka and Tomato Cream Sauce


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes or Tomato puree
  • 1 can of water
  • 1 pint of heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup of Vodka
  • 1/4 t red crushed pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • melt butter & oil in heavy pan over med heat. Add chopped onion and sauted until translucent, 8 minutes, stir
  • Add tomatoes and cook for 25 minutes (low heat)
  • Add cream, vodka and red pepper. Add one handful of Parmesan cheese to sauce and stir well.
  • Boil until thickened to sauce ( 2 minutes)
  • Only add salt after you taste the sauce, many times you don't need to add salt to sauce.
  • Cook pasta in large pot of water - add salt to the water - cook al dente
  • Drain well. Pour sauce over pasta and toss well.
  • Sprinkle with cheese.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The ultimate pasta cookbook By Pasquale Bruno New York : Contemporary Books, 1997. ISBN 978-0-8092-3169-0
  2. ^ Famous Italian Recipes By Justin M. Rotundo-Shanes, Boston: G. Lee Press, 1981.
  3. ^ Arthur Schwartz FoodMaven
  4. ^ Italian Family Cooking: Unlocking a Treasury of Recipes and Stories By Joseph E. Orsini New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2000. ISBN 978-0-312-24225-1
  5. ^ Ricettario italiano. La cucina dei poveri e dei re. edited by P. Scolari 1998, 2002 . Giunti, 1998 ISBN 88-440-0934-X
  6. ^ Essentials of Italian. Steve Seigelman. Williams Sonoma books, 2008.

External links[edit]