Pumpkin Penne alla Vodka

We've all had penne alla vodka, honestly not much beats this American-Italian classic! I don't know about you but that pasta coated in that creamy "extra saucy" tomato sauce always feels like a welcome hug to me. It's also one of the simplest dishes you can make that comes together in no time. I invite you to try my seasonal twist on it here. Where you would normally go in with tomato paste I subbed in pumpkin puree and added pecorino- romano rather than parmigiana-reggiano. If you're not feeling festive or you just flat out hate pumpkin I put the traditional ingredients in parentheses for you. Another ingredient to note is the vodka, if you don't wish to use- pasta water works just as well!

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic , finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup of vodka (or pasta water)

  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (for traditional use tomato paste)

  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream

  • 1/4-1/2 cup of pecorino romano cheese, grated (or parmigiano-reggiano)

  • about 1/2 bag of penne pasta


  1. Bring salted pasta water to boil, add penne and leave to cook until al dente. Usually takes about 12 minutes. Drain in colander when cooked.

  2. In another pan add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is hot add onions and garlic to sauté for a few minutes until fragrant. Add in vodka and pumpkin puree, stir to combine.

  3. Add in cream and pecorino cheese. Pour cooked penne into sauce and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper and more cheese if desired.

  4. Serve right away and enjoy!

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