Penne Alla Vodka – A classic Italian pasta dish with smooth and creamy tomato-based sauce is a favorite comfort food of mine!
I love to cook food that I have enjoyed in restaurants and this recipe is my attempt to recreate one of those delicious dishes. I have made this pasta on stovetop for a long time and couldn’t wait to try it in my Instant Pot.
Pro tips for perfect Instant Pot Penne Alla Vodka Pasta:
- Add enough water/broth/tomato sauce so that most of the pasta is under the liquids
- Layer the pasta sauce on top of the water or broth and do not mix it in
- For a well cooked pasta, pressure cook pasta for half the time on the pasta box
- For Al dente pasta, pressure cook for half the time on the pasta box minus 1 minute
- Always add cream after the pasta is done pressure cooking
- Quick releasing after pressure cooking will avoid overcooking the pasta
Why Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot:
- Cooking the pasta in the Instant Pot gives it a naturally creamy texture as the recipes do not require draining the excess water after pressure cooking the pasta. This water adds a great testure and flavor to the dish.
What flavors does Vodka add to a pasta dish:
- Adds a touch of heat and sharpness
- Helps balance the sweetness of tomatoes and cream
- For more info check out this article from Serious Eats
- For any one wondering most of the alcohol in this recipe is evaporated but the traces left unlocks a lot of flavors.
Regular pasta Vs Gluten Free:
- Love the Trader Joe’s gluten free pasta varieties. I use the brown rice pasta in this recipe that has a cook time of 7 – 10 minutes. This Pasta cooks al dente in 4 mins followed by quick release.
- For regular pasta, check the cooktime on the box. Use half the time to pressure cook pasta for a well cooked pasta or half the time minus one minute for aldente.
Types of tomatoes that can be used for Penne Alla Vodka:
- Diced ripe plum tomatoes
- Jar of favorite marinara sauce
- Canned tomato puree
- Puree a can of peeled plum tomatoes and add minced fresh garlic
Step by Step Instant Pot Penne Alla Vodka Recipe:
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat oil. Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes with a glass lid on. Add vodka, mix well and cook for another 2 mins to reduce down the vodka.
- Add pasta, salt, 2 cups of water and tomato puree . Close the Instant Pot and Manual/pressure cook for 4 minutes (Note, the cook time on Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta is 7-10 mins)
- Quick release and open the lid. Stir in cream. Add parsley and grated cheese. Mix well and Serve hot.
Adding protein or veggies to the Instant Pot Penne Alla Vodka:
- Sauté 1 inch cubes of boneless chicken thighs along with the onions and follow the remaining recipe.
- Sauté shrimp, peas or mushrooms in the Instant Pot as the first step in some oil with salt and pepper. Keep them aside and follow the rest of the recipe. Simply add the sauteeted shrimp or veggies on the pasta before serving
- Stir in few handful of baby spinach in the end just before serving.
Other favorite Instant Pot Pasta recipes:
- Pasta Caprese
- Spicy Taco Pasta
- Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese
- Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
- Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
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- 1 LB pasta I used Trader Joe’s organic brown rice penne pasta
- 28 oz tomato puree I like to puree a can of san marzano peeled plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup parmigiano reggiano grated
- 1/4 cup Parsley chopped
Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat oil.
Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes with a glass lid on.
- Add vodka, mix well and cook for another 2 mins to reduce down the vodka.
Add pasta, 2 cups of water, tomato puree and salt. Close the Instant Pot and Manual/pressure cook for 4 minutes (Note, the cook time on Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta is 7-10 mins) followed by Quick Release.
Stir in cream. Add parsley and grated cheese. Mix well and Serve hot.
Note: For any other type or brand of pasta, set Instant Pot to Manual(HI) for half the time that is specified as cooking time on the pasta box.
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Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.