This penne alla vodka with shrimp is tossed in a tomato cream sauce, then topped with fresh parmesan cheese and red crushed pepper.
Penne and shrimp. A true match in heaven. The creamiest and most delicious penne alla vodka with shrimp you will ever have, made in under 30 minutes!
This is hands down one of my favorite pasta dishes to cook on Sundays. My family absolutely loves this recipe. I tried to make this recipe as close as possible to an Italian American restaurant. At my favorite Italian restaurant, the vodka sauce is super creamy and a tad bit sweet.
If you don’t like a rich creamy sauce feel free to add 1/2 cup of heavy cream instead of 1 cup. Although I’m not sure why anyone would turn down a bowl of creamy penne alla vodka.
What Does Alla Vodka Mean?
Alla vodka simply means made with vodka. Pasta alla vodka became a famous dish in the 1980s and it is traditionally made with crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, vodka, and penne. Some people like to add pancetta and peas. Feel free to cook the pancetta along with the onions before adding the tomato puree to the skillet.
How To Make Penne alla Vodka with Shrimp
Start by cooking the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and make the sauce. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant. Add the vodka and cook until it reduced by half. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat. Finally, stir in the cooked penne pasta and shrimp. Mix well and serve immediately.
Top Tips For The Perfect Pasta
- Ideally, you’ll want to use penne pasta for this recipe but feel free to use rigatoni, ziti, or any short pasta you may have on hand.
- For best results, serve with fresh parmesan cheese and red crushed pepper.
- Enjoy with tomato avocado salad and cheesy garlic bread.
- Don’t have vodka on hand? Use white wine or pasta water instead.
- Use fresh basil if you have it on hand.
- Use chicken or lobster instead of shrimp if you prefer.
Once you give this recipe a try, you will continue making it often. It’s just that good!
Penne alla Vodka with Shrimp
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 tsp red crushed pepper optional
- 28 ounces tomato puree canned
- 1 cup vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil as needed
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set it aside.
- Add more oil to the skillet and add the onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and red crushed pepper, cook for 20 seconds.
- Add the vodka sauce and cook for 4 minutes or until the vodka reduces by half.
- Add the tomato puree, sugar, salt, and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes while the pasta cooks.
- Cook the pasta according to packaging instructions.
- Add the heavy cream to the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
- Add the shrimp and penne to the sauce and mix well.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!