One-Pan Baked Penne alla Vodka

Which dish do you enjoy eating the most? “Vodka-flavored pennetta.” At this point, reacting in this manner is a reflex, and there is a valid explanation for that. The classic pink sauce has the ideal proportions of acidity, richness, and tang since it is well balanced. The food is both comfort food and Italian cuisine that has been raised to a higher level.

As a result of this baked penne alla vodka, our favorite dish is transformed into a low-effort weekday supper that requires little effort to prepare and requires less cleanup. Because it is made fully in a single pan, there is no need to boil pasta separately! It takes less than ten minutes to prepare, which means you have more time to do whatever you want while dinner is baking in the oven.

Due to the fact that the pasta is cooked directly in the pan, it is able to thoroughly absorb the taste of the sauce and the seasonings. We have discovered that as opposed to cooking each component of the dish individually on the stove, the dish as a whole feels more unified once it has been allowed to rest in the oven together. Convenient and delicious—it’s a win-win situation.

Tips and Tricks for Baked Penne alla Vodka

  • Use a high-quality tomato sauce. If you’re not making your own (we didn’t), make sure you choose a fresh and flavorful tomato sauce. We like Victoria or Rao’s, both found in bulk at Costco.
  • Don’t skip the vodka. We’ve done this before out of the misguided belief that the vodka was unnecessary when in fact, it is key! It provides a pleasant bite and helps emulsify the sauce into a smooth, cohesive texture. If you prefer to avoid alcohol, you can substitute water and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Keep the pasta as submerged as possible throughout the process. There are two times to keep this advice in mind—when you first put the pasta in the oven, and when you mix it and return it to cook uncovered. A few noodles may stick out but the pasta should be as covered as possible with liquid to ensure they cook properly.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Make it extra cheesy: Add extra mozzarella or dollops of ricotta for a creamier pasta.
  • Add other vegetables: Green peas, roasted eggplant, sautéed mushrooms, or caramelized onions would all be delicious additions. To keep the ratio of water to pasta correct, we’d recommend mixing in cooked vegetables just before sprinkling on the shredded cheese for the final 10 minutes of baking time.
  • Add protein: We like to add cooked soy curls to the meal but you could also add grilled chicken, chicken cutlet, or Italian sausage. Again, you’ll want to cook the protein separately and add them in before sprinkling on the cheese, or serve them on the side with the pasta.
  • Add spice: For an arrabbiata sauce, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes with the rest of the seasonings.

One-Pan Baked Penne alla Vodka

PREP TIME10 mins
COOK TIME50 mins
SERVINGS4 to 6 servings

If you avoid alcohol, substitute 1/4 cup water and a tablespoon of lemon juice for the vodka.

To make it dairy-free, use coconut cream and vegan shredded mozzarella.

Add salt to taste, since the saltiness of different marinara sauces can vary.


  • 3 cups marinara sauce, jarred or homemade
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the liquids and seasonings: 

    In a 9×13 baking pan, add the marinara, vodka, water, coconut cream, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Whisk to combine.

    One pan baked penne alla vodka wet ingredients mixed together in the casserole dish

  3. Add the pasta, then spinach: 

    Gently pour the penne in the pan (to avoid splatters) and mix until the pasta is coated in liquid. Use a spatula to smooth out the top so the pasta is largely submerged. Place the spinach in an even layer on top.

    Penne pasta submerged in the casserole dish with one pan penne alla vodka sauce

    Casserole dish topped with fresh spinach for one pan baked penne alla vodka recipe

  4. Cover and bake: 

    Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes.

    Casserole dish covered with aluminium foil for one pan penne alla vodka recipe

  5. Top with cheese: 

    Remove the pan from the oven and uncover. Gently stir the spinach into the pasta. Cool a piece of pasta and taste, adding salt as needed. Stir and smooth it out again, keeping the pasta coated in sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

    One pan baked penne alla vodka with aluminium foil removed (first bake)

    Cooked spinach mixed with the one pan baked penne alla vodka
    One pan baked penne alla vodka topped with shredded cheese

  6. Cook uncovered:

    Cook for 10 more minutes, uncovered. The cheese will melt and the sauce will thicken. Top with fresh basil or parsley and serve.

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. Reheat covered with tinfoil in a 350°F oven, in a small saucepan, or in the microwave.

    One pan baked penne alla vodka in a casserole dish topped with fresh basil


What is Mom’s Roast Turkey?

Mom’s Roast Turkey refers to a classic and beloved recipe for preparing a whole turkey for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It often involves seasoning the turkey with a blend of herbs and spices, roasting it until golden brown and juicy, and serving it with traditional side dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

How do I make Mom’s Roast Turkey?

To make Mom’s Roast Turkey, start by preparing the turkey by removing giblets and rinsing it under cold water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, then season it generously with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices. Stuff the turkey cavity with aromatics like onion, garlic, lemon, and fresh herbs for added flavor. Roast the turkey in the oven at a moderate temperature, basting occasionally with pan juices or butter to keep it moist. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches the appropriate internal temperature before removing it from the oven. Let the turkey rest for a while before carving and serving.

What ingredients are needed for Mom’s Roast Turkey?

The main ingredients for Mom’s Roast Turkey include:

    • Whole turkey
    • Salt and pepper
    • Herbs and spices (such as thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley)
    • Aromatics (such as onion, garlic, lemon, and celery)
    • Butter or olive oil Optional ingredients for seasoning or stuffing may include citrus fruits, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks.

Can I customize Mom’s Roast Turkey recipe?

Yes, Mom’s Roast Turkey recipe is highly customizable based on personal preferences and dietary restrictions. You can adjust the blend of herbs and spices used to season the turkey according to your taste preferences. Additionally, you can experiment with different aromatics and stuffing ingredients to create unique flavor profiles. For example, you might consider using a citrus herb butter under the turkey skin or incorporating dried fruits and nuts into the stuffing mixture for added texture and flavor.

How long does it take to roast Mom’s Roast Turkey?

The roasting time for Mom’s Roast Turkey depends on the size of the turkey and the oven temperature used. As a general guideline, you can estimate approximately 13-15 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey at 325°F (165°C). However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) in the thickest part of the thigh before considering it fully cooked. It’s also recommended to let the turkey rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute and ensure a juicy and tender bird.

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