RecipePumpkin Penne Alla Vodka

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 380
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Total Fat: 10 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 56 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 8 g
  • Total Sugar: 8 g
    • Natural Sugar: 8 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 340 mg

Say hello to irresistible comfort that satisfies those creamy, saucy pasta cravings. This Pumpkin Penne Alla Vodka is a seasonal twist on my one-pan Baked Penne Alla Vodka. Thanks to the clever combination of roasted tomatoes, canned pumpkin purée and ricotta cheese, you’re able to create the creamy and delectable consistency we have all come to love. What sets this dish apart is its sheer simplicity—it’s all prepared in a single casserole dish, making both the cooking process and cleanup a breeze. It’s the perfect, no-fuss weeknight dinner, yet it’s also effortless and elegant enough to serve at an impromptu soirée. The pumpkin infusion enriches the creamy tomato-vodka sauce, adding nutrition and seasonal splendor. This dish enables you to embrace fall, one delicious forkful at a time.

Recipe notes:
• I love using whole-grain or legume-based pasta to increase the fiber and nutrition. I went with Barilla Protein Plus here, which is reflected in the nutrition.

• Be sure to use a little less than a 14oz box of pasta. That’s because if you add closer to or more than 14oz of cooked pasta, it may not be saucy enough—and it may be too much penne to fit in the casserole dish.

• To infuse an extra dose of seasonal flair, sprinkle some warm spices like nutmeg or pumpkin spice.

• The vodka adds the fun factor and elevates the flavor and aroma of the dish. It also acts as an emulsifier making it a super creamy, dreamy sauce.

 Don’t worry, you will not have any drunk kids running around! I use a small amount of vodka and the alcohol component gets cooked off in the oven. However, if you prefer to skip the alcohol, you can swap in ¼ cup broth. And if you don’t have vodka in the house, you can easily swap in ¼ cup red or white wine, too.

• You can choose to add all the Parmesan into the saucy mixture before adding the pasta, as written below in the directions. Or, you can save ¼ cup Parm to sprinkle on top of your finished dish and then place it back in the oven for about 5 more minutes to create a cheesy finish.

• This will last in an air-tight container for 3-4 days in fridge.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 6 servings (2 cups pasta per serving)
  • • 2 pints (4 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder (or 4 minced cloves)
  • • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • • ¼ cup vodka*
  • • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • • 14-ounce box of cooked and drained penne
  • • Optional garnish: additional Parmesan, chopped herbs, crushed red pepper flakes

*The vodka elevates the flavor and aroma of this classic dish, and acts as an emulsifier, making the sauce creamy. But you can choose to omit it completely or swap in broth or wine. The alcohol cooks off in the oven so you don’t have to worry about getting tipsy!  


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Add cherry tomatoes to a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Drizzle on oil and toss to coat. Mix in garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Push tomatoes to outer perimeter, creating a well in middle. Add pumpkin and ricotta cheese to center. Drizzle vodka evenly over the outer tomatoes.

Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tomatoes are looking puckered and juicy.

Remove from oven and, using the back of a large spoon, smash all tomatoes, letting out juices and pulverizing skin into smaller pieces (the juice will be scorching hot, so be careful not to let it splatter on you). Mix everything together to create a rich, creamy sauce. Mix in Parm. Start adding penne a little bit at a time until you have your perfect pasta-to-sauce ratio; stir to combine. Garnish with optional herbsextra Parm and crushed red pepper flakes.

Nutrition provided per 2 cups pasta. 

Try this Mediterranean Baked Pasta with Eggplant and Sausage!