Penne alla vodka with cashew cream

The creamiest pasta you will ever try!


Cityline’s home cook Julie Miguel has a fantastic pasta recipe for fall that’s perfect for the family – Penne Alla Vodka! She uses a creamy cashew cream sauce to make it extra delicious. Check out the easy recipe below:


  1. Put a large pot of salted water on high heat to boil.
  2. Heat a large deep skillet to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the chopped pancetta or bacon and fry it until it is lightly golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Leave the liquid bacon fat in the skillet.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the same skillet. Cook the onions until they are softened, about 6 minutes. Add vodka to the skillet to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to stir the vodka and scrape any onions and garlic that have stuck to the skillet. Let everything simmer for 1 minute.
  4. If your water is boiling, add your Penne Rigate to the pot with the boiling water and cook to ‘al dente’. I like to use Penne Rigate because the grooves help keep the sauce on the pasta.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer it for 10 minutes. 
  6. While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is boiling, make the cashew cream.  Add cashews and ¾ cup of water to your blender container.  Blend on high until the sauce is smooth and resembles the consistency of cream.    
  7. Slowly add ¼ cup of the cashew cream in a steady stream to the tomato sauce while gently stirring the sauce to combine the cream and tomato sauce together. The sauce should start to look pink and very creamy. Continue to stir until the sauce has come together, about 2 minutes. (Optional: Add 1/2 cup parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and stir). Add the bacon and fold it in with the sauce.
  8. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  9. Serve immediately with some more freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly chopped basil and fresh and crusty Italian bread.