Meals for one: Penne alla vodka recipe

Move over mac and cheese – this is comfort food 101. Most of the ingredients are things you will already have, so it’s a great standby recipe for when you don’t have much in the fridge.

penne alla vodka
Nassima Rothacker


100g penne pasta
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp vodka
2 tbsp double cream (single cream will work too)
Basil leaves and grated parmesan, to serve

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than stated on the pack instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter, shallot, garlic and a pinch of salt then fry for a minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring regularly for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vodka to the sauce and bubble off the alcohol for a minute, then stir in the cream. Lower the heat and cook for another minute.
  4. Scoop out a mugful of the cooking water then drain the pasta. Tip the hot pasta into the sauce with about 3 tbsp of the cooking water. Stir over the heat for a final minute until the pasta is coated in a glossy sauce (add a splash more cooking water if needed).
  5. Serve scattered with shredded basil leaves and parmesan.