Chicken Penne Alla Vodka – A Creamy Italian Delight!

Are you craving a restaurant-quality Italian comfort food? Look no further! Our homemade Chicken Penne Alla Vodka is a dish that will transport your taste buds straight to Italy. Picture this: smooth and creamy vodka sauce, crispy breaded chicken, and perfectly cooked penne pasta. It’s a combination made in culinary heaven.

Overhead image of chicken penne alla vodka pasta in white dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Creamy: Our sauce is made with heavy cream and Parmigiano Reggiano, creating a velvety texture that will melt in your mouth.
  • Crispy chicken: The chicken cutlets are coated with a crispy blend of bread crumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano, adding a delightful crunch to each bite.
  • Herby: Dried oregano enhances the flavor profile of the sauce, taking it to the next level.
  • Heart dinner idea: This dish is the epitome of Italian comfort food. It’s perfect for impressing guests or indulging in a satisfying meal after a long day.
  • Crispy pancetta: Pancetta gives the pasta a salty and smoky twist, elevating the overall taste.
  • Kid friendly: Even the pickiest eaters will be excited about this flavorful dinner.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Overhead image of ingredients needed for chicken penne alla vodka.

  • Pancetta: If you can’t find pancetta, feel free to substitute diced prosciutto or bacon.
  • Shallots: Shallots add a unique flavor to the sauce, but if you can’t find any, a yellow onion will work as a substitute.
  • Kosher Salt: We use Morton kosher salt in all our recipes, but you can use table salt, adjusting the amount accordingly.
  • Vodka: To make an alcohol-free version, you can replace the vodka with chicken broth or water as a deglazing agent.
  • Chicken Cutlets: If you’re short on time, you can find pre-prepped chicken cutlets at Whole Foods. Alternatively, take chicken breasts, cut them in half, and pound them to an even thickness.
Further reading:  Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Alfredo

For a complete list of ingredients and amounts, refer to the recipe card below.

How to Make Pasta Alla Vodka with Chicken

Quick Overview

  1. Make the vodka sauce.
  2. Shallow fry the chicken cutlets.
  3. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
  4. Serve sliced chicken on top of the pasta.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. In a large deep skillet, sauté the pancetta until brown and the fat has rendered. Set it aside without draining the grease.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add butter to the skillet. Sauté shallots until softened.
  3. Add tomato paste, garlic, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant.
  4. Deglaze the pan with vodka, scraping any brown bits off the bottom. Reduce for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, breaking them apart with a spoon.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream.
  7. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.
  8. Transfer the blended sauce back to the skillet and keep it warm on low heat.
  9. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package instructions, reserving some pasta water.
  10. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and salt. Coat each chicken cutlet with the mixture.
  11. Fry the breaded chicken cutlets until golden brown and cooked through.
  12. Add the pasta, Parmesan, and fried pancetta to the sauce. Fold until combined. Add pasta water if needed.
  13. Slice the chicken and serve it over the pasta. Garnish with grated Parmesan.

Recipe Serving Suggestions

This dish is already quite hearty, but if you’d like to pair it with a side dish, we recommend some bread for dipping in the sauce or a refreshing salad to balance the flavors. Here are a few options:

  • Easy Caesar Salad Recipe
  • Garlic Bread Spread Recipe
  • Air Fryer Garlic Bread
  • Rosemary Parmesan Bread
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Expert Tips & Variations

  • Use Parmigiano Reggiano: For the best flavor, choose Parmigiano Reggiano or a high-quality Parmesan wedge. Avoid pre-grated or shredded cheese and grate it using a microplane grater.
  • Time all components: Boil the pasta while the chicken fries to ensure everything is ready at the same time.
  • Press the breading: Press the bread crumb mixture into the chicken cutlets for an even coating.
  • Salt the pasta water: Add about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to the boiling water for perfectly seasoned pasta.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta: Cook the pasta al dente, as it will continue to cook in the sauce.
  • Use a meat thermometer: Ensure the chicken is perfectly cooked by using a meat thermometer.
  • Add more vegetables: Consider adding a handful or two of spinach during Step 13 for an extra dose of greens.

How to Simplify the Recipe

  • Skip the breaded chicken: Instead of breaded chicken cutlets, dice raw chicken breasts into chunks and sauté them. Toss them with the pasta when cooked.
  • Skip blending the sauce: If you prefer a chunkier sauce, use crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes and skip the blending step.
  • Make the sauce in advance: Prepare the sauce up to Step 7, store it in the fridge for 1-2 days, and warm it over low heat when ready to use. The flavors will develop even further.

In Conclusion

Our Chicken Penne Alla Vodka recipe is a dish that combines the best of Italian cuisine. Creamy and cheesy vodka sauce, crispy breaded chicken, and perfectly cooked pasta come together to create a truly indulgent meal. It’s a crowd-pleaser and a guaranteed family favorite. Treat yourself and your loved ones to this exquisite Italian delight!

Further reading:  A Healthier Twist on Butter Chicken Curry

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