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There is so much to love about pasta. It’s satisfying, easy to make, and goes with just about everything. From class Italian pasta dish to healthy pasta and vegetarian pasta meal, I’ve put together 19 best pasta side dishes that your whole family will like.

Easy Penne Pasta Side Dish Recipe (with Vodka Sauce)

Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce is one of the most classic pasta side dishes. It’s creamy, bright, and full of flavor!
Keyword Pasta Side Dish
Servings 6
Calories 511kcal
Author Izzy


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. Cook for 4-5 minutes until soft, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
  • Add the vodka and tomatoes. Stir and continue cooking for about 7 minutes more until the sauce has reduced somewhat.
  • Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 15-20 minutes until reduced by about half. Stir occasionally.
  • While the sauce is simmering, you can cook the pasta following the package directions. Drain, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
  • Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor. Purée for about 5 to 10 seconds until smooth.
  • Add the pureed sauce back to the skillet. With the heat on medium-low, add in the half and half or cream. Stir gently for about 1 minute until it starts to bubble.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese. Then toss with the cooked pasta until coated completely. Garnish with extra parmesan and optional parsley or basil before serving.


Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 694IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 3mg