When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to eat at fancier Italian restaurants. My father, like myself, enjoys really good food. I remember looking at a menu at one of those Italian restaurants and choosing to try Penne Alla Vodka because I had never heard of it or tried it before.
I was blown away with this dish at first taste. The creamy sauce, the perfectly cooked pasta and crispy and smoky pancetta. I remember thinking this is just like a regular bowl of pasta but with a few tweaks to bring it up a few notches.
This is one of the first recipes I printed and cooked at home over 20 years ago. I was a food blogger even before I knew it because I used the recipe as a guide but then I ditched the recipe and came up with my own that I felt was better. Just like my Mushroom Risotto Recipe.
Get My Mushroom Risotto Recipe—> My Roots: Mushroom Risotto
Traditionally, Penne alla Vodka is made with Pancetta which is Italian bacon. The first few times I made it, I used pancetta. After making it over and over, using the same recipe, I noticed that the taste was never consistent. This is because pancetta is not consistent. Even the flavour is all over the place – some have spice, some are lean, some are very smoky in flavour.
I tried using bacon instead and I really liked how the extra fat brought the sauce together. I use high quality bacon that is free of preservatives and not too salty. Now, I know it’s going to come out the same way every time. The flavour is awesome – still smoky like pancetta and consistently delicious.
Penne Alla Vodka is pretty indulgent so if you’re serving it with another dish at a dinner party, be sure to serve a ladle per guest. Trust me, that’s all they will need.
This is my most loved (off the internet) and oldest recipe – I’m not sure why it took me so long to share it but I’m so excited to finally do that! Enjoy!