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Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Recipe

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The much loved penne alla vodka with chicken recipe.

The vodka sauce used in penne alla vodka with chicken transforms a simple pasta dish into something novel. This cool recipe has some really uncertain origins. There is a lot of debate because some people believe that it originated in New York while others claim that it was invented in Italy. 

One thing however is certain, penne alla vodka took the world by storm in the 1980s and it has been one of the top favorite dishes since then. If you haven’t tried it yet then you are seriously missing out!

penne alla vodka with chicken

Polish people love vodka and as can be imagined they love all dishes that incorporate vodka into the recipe. While penne alla vodka with chicken recipe is not a Polish dish, it is one of those dishes that needs vodka in the preparation. That is one of the reasons why it is so popular.

Plus, you will find that vodka is easily available in Poland and comes in a variety of different flavors. If you haven’t tried any of the Polish vodka then prepare to be amazed at the number of different brands that are available in the market.

Not sure which brand to buy? Take a look at our guide to selecting Polish vodka. That will certainly help you with your selection.

Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Recipe

Part I – Cook The Penne Pasta

Cook 3 cups of penne pasta. Follow the instructions on the box. Remember that the instructions on time to cook change from brand to brand and if you do not follow the instructions, you may end up with pasta that is either too hard or too soft.

Part II – Peel And Dice Onions And Cloves

Peel, clean and dice 2 onions and 2 garlic cloves. You will need to dice these fine otherwise you may get pieces in your mouth which people dislike.

Part III – Fry The Onions And Garlic In Olive Oil For 3-5 Minutes

Part IV – Prep The Mushrooms

While the onions are frying, start working with the mushrooms. Wash them well to remove all the grit. Cut them into quarters and set aside. These will be incorporated into the vodka sauce at a latter stage.

Part V – Add Vodka

Once the onions and garlic have been fried, add vodka into the pan and fry for another 5 minutes.

Add the vodka.
Add the vodka.

Part VI – Add Chicken And Mushrooms

Add in 8oz of shredded chicken breast and the chopped mushrooms to the pan. Mix well and fry for another 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and mushrooms
Add the chicken and mushrooms .

Part VII – Add The Heavy Cream, Canned Tomatoes And Tomato Paste

Once the chicken and mushrooms are cooked, add in 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp. of tomato paste and ¾ cup of heavy cream. You can swap the tomato paste with tomato concentrate.

Part VIII – Thicken The Sauce

Continue to fry the sauce for another 5-10 minutes. The sauce should thicken nicely. It will resemble the consistency of other pasta sauces that you generally use. When it is nearly done add 1-2 tsps. of salt. The amount of sauce that you add to the mixture is highly dependent on taste. I would advise adding a little salt and tasting the sauce before adding more.

Thicken the vodka sauce.
Thicken the vodka sauce.

Part IX – Serve Hot

To serve this dish, place the cooked pasta on a plate along with sauce on top of it. You can garnish the pasta with parmesan and parsley. 

Delicious penne alla vodka with chicken.
Delicious penne alla vodka with chicken.

FAQs About Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Recipe

What Does The Vodka In Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Recipe Do?

The vodka in Penne alla vodka with chicken is used in the preparation of the sauce. The alcohol in the vodka helps in the texture of the dish. In fact, you will notice that around the world, different people incorporate different kinds of alcohol into their pasta sauce. Another popular addition as far as alcohol is concerned is wine. 

Wine gives the dish a sweet and tangy taste and melds well with the tomato sauce. Vodka on the other hand gives the sauce a strong flavor and the sauce feels more rich and heavy.

Can Penne Alla Vodka Get You Drunk?

No. The penne alla vodka with chicken recipe will not get you drunk. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the amount of vodka used is very little and the second is that the heating the sauce causes a lot of the alcohol to evaporate.

What Does Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Taste Like?

As we mentioned before, the penne alla vodka with chicken doesn’t really have much alcohol in it. So if you are expecting a strong alcoholic taste, you will be disappointed. It does however combine well with the tomatoes and you are left with a rich sauce that may or may not have a faint smokey flavor.

Can You Make The Vodka Sauce Without Heavy Cream?

For those of you who are looking for a healthier version of the penne alla vodka with chicken recipe, don’t worry. All that you have to do is swap out the heavy cream with a healthy substitute. Sour cream is a popular choice. Alternatively, you can choose to remove the heavy cream from the recipe completely.

Yield: 8 servings

Penne Alla Vodka With Chicken Recipe

The much loved penne alla vodka with chicken recipe.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 3 cups (375g) of penne pasta
  • 18 oz (500g) of chicken breast
  • 18 oz (500g) of mushrooms
  • 3 shots of vodka
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste/ concentrate
  • 3 tbsps of olive oil
  • 1-2 tsps of salt
  • grated parmesan to serve
  • fresh parsley to serve


  1. Cook penne pasta following the instruction on the package.
  2. Peel and dice onions and garlic cloves.
  3. Fry them with olive oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. In the meantime, wash or peel the mushrooms and cut them into quarters.
  5. Add vodka and fry for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add chicken and mushrooms and fry for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add heavy cream, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and mix.
  8. Fry for 5-10 minutes until the sauce gets thick. Season with 1-2 tsps of salt.
  9. Place pasta and sauce on the plate and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 702Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 255mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 88g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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