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Chicken & Penne Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce

Thanks so much to Mindi from Moms Need to Know for sharing this great recipe with us. I’m still on “leave,” enjoying my time with new baby and settling into life as a family of 6. I’m so grateful for the help and support of my fellow bloggers during this time! ~Erin

My children go absolutely NUTS for this! Make it more healthy by adding baby spinach when you add the vodka and letting the spinach partially wilt before you add the cream (it will wilt the rest of the way when the entire mixture is hot).

Chicken & Penne Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce

Yield – 4 servings


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in to 3/4″ cubes
  • 3 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, fresh, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or other coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 12 oz uncooked penne
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 15-20 leaves basil, fresh, cut into strips


  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add butter, shallots, and chicken.
  3. Sauté until shallots are softened and chicken is no longer pink on the outside.
  4. Add the garlic and continue cooking until shallots start to caramelize, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add parsley, sea salt, tomato paste and pepper, and mix to form a paste.
  6. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the vodka. Scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  8. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  9. When the pasta is cooked, transfer about 1 cup of the cooking water to a heat-proof measuring cup. Set aside.
  10. Drain the rest of the pasta.
  11. Add the cream to the tomato sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  12. Add pasta to the sauce and mix to coat.
  13. If the pasta sauce appears too thick, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to “loosen it up” (I usually have to add about 1/2 cup).
  14. Top with basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mindi Cherry is the creator of MomsNeedToKnow.com, as well as wife & mom to the 4 pickiest eaters ever born. When not finding deals for her readers, she spends her time looking for recipes that her family will actually eat and trying to be in 6 places at once.