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‘Insane’ Penna alla Vodka Recipe

I can’t say I’ve tried or will ever try Heinz's new Absolut Vodka sauce. Until now, I thought putting ketchup on pasta was just a myth. But I will say I am a bona fide expert when it comes to Penne Alla Vodka. After all, I recently directed the ultimate award-winning documentary film about the subject. I’ve even risked jail time to make this sauce a reality (true story, more about that here), so it is with great pleasure, and years of hardcore scientific research, that I give you the most insane Penne Alla Vodka recipe on the planet. Be warned, this is not for the faint of heart—or for anyone that would even consider putting ketchup on pasta, ever.

“Insane” Penne Alla Vodka

“Insane” Penne Alla Vodka

Recipe by Roberto Serrini
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 6 6 Campari Tomatoes

  • 2 heads 2 garlic

  • 1 1 yellow onion

  • 2 2 Bay Leaves

  • 2 cups 2 olive oil

  • ½ stick of butter

  • 1 tablespoon 1 chili flakes

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Gojuchang

  • Parmigiano

  • 2 oz 2 vodka

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 1 1 box of rigatoni


  • Put your Campari tomatoes in an oven-safe vessel.
  • Cut both heads of garlic in half and place cut side down in the vessel.
  • Cover the tomatoes halfway in olive oil.
  • Add bay leaves.
  • Sprinkle some chili flakes.
  • Stick the vessel in a 250 °F oven for 3 hours (a small toaster convection oven works great).
  • Note: You’re about to confit tomatoes and garlic, which will change the way you process flavor forever; be warned.
  • Pour 2 oz of vodka in a small bowl.
  • Grind a good amount of fresh pepper into it.
  • Place a saucer or some plastic wrap on top and let that chill, so the pepper can infuse in the alcohol.
  • Throw half a stick of butter, a splash of olive oil, and a roughly chopped onion in a pan on low heat. You want to stir often to let these slowly cook down and caramelize.
  • When the tomatoes are done, drain the oil into a container and keep it: It’s liquid gold.
  • Take the garlic, now creamy and golden brown, and squeeze it out of its paper husk into a blender.
  • Place the tomatoes in there, too.
  • Place the golden brown onions in there, too.
  • Blend into a rich, thick, creamy golden pink sauce.
  • Start your pasta water. Get it boiling.
  • Put a good amount of salt in, and add your pasta.
  • Note: You can use Penne if you want, but to me Penne is the Toby McGuire of pastas, where Rigatoni are more like Ryan Goslings. To each their own. You can use the whole box, but I prefer more sauce, so I tend to only use half, or three quarters of Goslings.
  • Back in the pan that had the onions goes 2 tablespoons of gojuchang (a fermented Korean chili paste that’s so good you’ll request to be buried in it after you pass on to the next life, which might be after this pasta, because it’s to die for).
  • Pour in your blended sauce.
  • Take your pepper vodka, pour it in the empty blender and swish it around to get any remaining gold out of there.
  • Pour it into the pan, and give everything a good stir over a low flame.
  • Tilt the pan gently to the open flame and ignite any excess alcohol. (Be careful.)
  • When the pasta is about a minute or two from being done. With a slotted spoon, put your pasta in the pan. This is going to infuse the pasta with the sauce and also give the sauce amazing texture.
  • Toss in some pasta water and keep stirring and moving the pasta around.
  • Try one every now and then. Add more water when the sauce gets too thick. It should get rich and creamy, as if you added cream into the sauce, but there is no cream…It's all a beautiful illusion.
  • When it’s to your liking, plate it up, hit it with a crack of pepper and lots of freshly grated parm.
  • Try to eat it slowly. You won’t be able to, but you should try.
  • Shake your head in disbelief after each bite thinking to yourself, “How has it been possible I’ve been walking the earth completely taste blind to this life changing dish.”

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