Audrey Hepburn’s Creamy Penne alla Vodka is the Perfect Simple Supper

Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

Audrey Hepburn might be known for her movie magic, but over the past year I've gotten to know first-hand how magical she was in the kitchen. In the past few months, I’ve made her flourless chocolate cake and her spaghetti al pomodoro and both were smash hits.

With those two recipe wins, I now find myself searching for Audrey's recipes, so when I stumbled upon her penne alla vodka recipe, I couldn't get to the store fast enough. Read on for my honest opinion of Audrey's take on the classic Italian pasta.

Get the recipe: Audrey Hepburn's Penne alla Vodka

<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Ingredients for Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

To make this penne alla vodka, you’re going to need penne pasta, an onion, tomato purée, vodka, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, Parmesan and butter. I also added fresh thyme and basil because it’s springtime and fresh herbs take pasta to the next level (and I think Audrey would approve.)

Related: Heidi Klum Stuns in Audrey Hepburn-Inspired Outfit at the People's Choice Awards

How to Make Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onion with the pepper flakes. Add the tomato puree and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the vodka. Cook the mixture down for 15 minutes before adding the cream. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in kosher salt, then your penne. Cook the pasta until it is just al dente, then drain and add to the sauce. Turn the heat to high and cook for one minute, tossing to coat (I added a splash of the pasta water at this point, too). Sprinkle with the Parmesan and herbs, if desired.

Related: Fans Say This Pasta Sauce ‘Is Better Than Rao’s'—And You Can Buy It At Costco

Audrey Hepburn's Penne a la Vodka<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Audrey Hepburn's Penne a la Vodka

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

What I Thought of Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

If I'm being honest, I was nervous when I got started with this recipe. Keeping the two pans cooking in tandem on the stove was tough. I didn't feel confident about making the vodka sauce from scratch as it's been a minute since I've done that. But in the end, everything was pretty easy and the pasta turned out delicious.

The sauce was creamy, smooth and velvety, with the star of the show—the San Marzano tomatoes—rightfully taking center stage. Audrey's recipe didn’t specifically say this, but I topped my bowl with a little extra Parmesan and a ton of fresh thyme and basil, along with some flaky salt, and I'm so glad I did. It made each bite pop with so much more flavor. I definitely went back for seconds and did some more sampling when I was packing up the leftovers.

The sunny spring day I made Audrey's penne was the perfect day to make this recipe since, a) I had just come home from the farmers market with fresh basil and thyme, and b) I discovered that You've Got Mail was on Netflix, which was the perfect romantic backdrop for cooking (I think she would approve).

Related: 50 Fast and Easy Penne Pasta Recipes for the Weeknight Dinner Win

Tips for Making Audrey Hepburn’s Penne alla Vodka

  1. Add fresh herbs. As noted above, nothing beats a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan and herbs to really make your dish shine. Next time, I would even add in some spinach.

  2. Add a splash of pasta water. Audrey doesn’t mention this in her recipe, but from past pasta recipes that I have made, I know it’s well worth it to add a splash of pasta water to your sauce. This step helps create a silky sauce that sticks to the pasta and reheats like a dream.

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