One-Pot Chicken Penne Alla Vodka is a 30-minute dinner that’s made with juicy, lean chicken breast and sun-dried tomatoes in a light vodka cream sauce. This easy chicken pasta is a weeknight dinner-saver and is date-night approved!
Chicken Penne Alla Vodka
This one-pot chicken pasta is so delicious, it will literally make you feel like you ordered take-out from your favorite Italian restaurant!
It’s also the perfect date-night meal with its lustrous sauce and distinct Italian flavor…perfect with a glass of wine.
There’s also vodka in it, which is a brilliant flavor enhancer! If you don’t have vodka…guess what? Your neighbor does.
There’s a reason this recipe has been on my blog since 2015 and is still going strong today!
But first, let’s ask the important question…
Can you get drunk from vodka sauce?
While there is actual vodka in the recipe, it’s not meant to get you sauced…or even remotely tipsy.
The alcohol burns off during the cooking process and creates layers of gorgeous flavor.
What I love about this Penne Alla Vodka
- We use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead of canned or fresh tomatoes. That sun-dried tomato oil embeds SO much flavor into this dish…just get ready!!
- We added lean chicken breast to this dish…for our chicken lovers.
- We’re using non-dairy milk to cut the saturated fat. In our case, it was almond milk, but any neutral-flavored non-dairy milk would work fine. Of course you can use heavy cream and keep this dish more traditional.
- We added fresh spinach to this dish for color, texture, nutrients…all the things.
- This penne alla vodka is made in one pot, so you can do the math on this one.
How to make Chicken Penne Alla Vodka
Step 1: Pound chicken breast flat, season both sides, and saute in a skillet or wide-bottom saucepot.
Step 2: Remove chicken from skillet/pot, set aside, and cut into slices once it cools.
Step 3: Saute onion, garlic, and tomatoes in the same skillet.
Step 4: Add liquid ingredients, dry penne noodles, and seasonings to the skillet; bring to a boil, then cover and simmer about 10 minutes until noodles are al dente.
Step 5: Add spinach and chicken to the pasta; allow to heat through; serve warm.
* See full recipe below
And trust me when I say…this chicken pasta tastes even better than it looks!
Ingredient / Recipe Tips
The sun-dried tomatoes
I highly recommend oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for this recipe over any other packaged tomatoes.
There’s a certain magic that happens when the sun-dried tomato infused oil mixes into this sauce. It’s pure heaven, just you wait and see!
The chicken breast
Flatten the chicken breast to promote even cooking (you’re welcome to skip this step, but it helps it cook more evenly and prevents drying out).
Allow the chicken breast to sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before cooking. This also promotes even heating, which helps prevent drying.
The vodka cream sauce
Penne alla vodka recipes usually require heavy cream.
But, when you boil pasta in the same liquid that becomes the sauce, it’s naturally creamy due to the starch that’s released into the sauce as it cooks.
So, I have always used non-dairy milk in place of heavy cream as a way to reduce saturated fat and calories for this recipe.
You are welcome to use heavy cream in place of the almond milk if you want a more traditional recipe. Trust me though, it’s really not necessary with this one-pot method.
I recommend using fresh spinach only…not frozen.
It’s prettier, and tastes better, in my opinion.
One-Pot Chicken Penne Alla Vodka Ingredients
- boneless, skinless chicken breast
- olive oil
- oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- red onion
- reduced-sodium chicken broth
- almond milk (or any milk)
- penne pasta noodles
- crushed red pepper
- fresh spinach
- parmesan cheese
Check out my other one-pot dinners
If you need to get dinner on the table even faster
Chicken Penne Alla Vodka
- 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- pinch Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Oil-Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 1/2 Red Onion diced
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/4 cup Vodka
- 1.5 cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 cups Almond Milk or any milk
- 2 cups Mini Penne Pasta or full-sized penne
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 4 cups Fresh Spinach
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
For the chicken breast
- Flatten chicken breast to 1/2” thickness using the flat side of a meat tenderizer.Lightly season both sides with SALT, PEPPER, and PAPRIKA.
- Heat OLIVE OIL in an 11” skillet (or 3 qt pot) on medium-high heat
- Sauté the CHICKEN BREAST on both sides (about 3-5 minutes each side) until it’s fully cooked (it should read 165° internal temperature of a meat thermometer.
- Remove the cooked chicken breast and set aside. Allow it to rest a few minutes, then slice it into 1/2” thick pieces. You’ll add this back to the pasta in at the end.
For the vodka sauce
- In the same skillet on medium-high heat, sauté ONION, GARLIC, and SUN-DRIED TOMATOES about 3 minutes until onion is tender.
- Pour VODKA over the vegetables and allow to cook for a minute.The vegetables will easily release from the bottom of the pan (this is called deglazing).
- Stir in MILK, CHICKEN BROTH, PENNE, SALT, and CRUSHED RED PEPPER; adjust heat to HIGH and bring everything just to a boil.
- Then, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook about 10 minutes until pasta becomes al dente. No need to stir.*Note: mini penne takes about 10 minutes and full-sized penne takes about 13 minutes to reach al dente texture.
- Fold in SPINACH and COOKED CHICKEN to the pasta; cover, and continue heating until chicken is warmed through, stirring as needed.Note: Pasta will soften a little more during this process.
- Add PARMESAN CHEESE to the pasta and stir for a minute as the sauce thickens; serve warm.
Pro tip: Just before serving, stir in a splash of chicken broth, milk, or heavy cream to the pasta. This is a restaurant trick that gives the pasta dish a lustrous appearance and texture.
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