Penne Alla Gin? Bellissimo!

The origins of the beloved ‘Penne alla Vodka’ are much disputed, but it is widely agreed that the dish was created in Italy before finding fame in 1980s America. In Italian cooking, grappa (a grape-based Italian liquor) is often used as an emulsifier, and in this Penne alla Gin dish you’ll find that gin works quite the same way – additionally adding in the lovely botanical hints!

Penne Alla Gin



Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the penne according to package instructions. Drain, cover and set aside when ready. Keep the large pot to hand for later.

While your pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large pan or wok. Add garlic and onion to pan on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes, making sure not to let it burn.

Add tinned tomatoes to pan and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the double cream and then take the pan off the heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the large pot you have set aside, then pour over the gin and add the butter. Toss in a pinch of salt.

Tip your pasta into the pan with sauce. Toss well until the pasta is evenly coated.

To serve, pour the pasta into a large, warm serving bowl and grate fresh Parmesan on top, if desired.


1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
820g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg penne pasta
125ml gin
4 tbsp butter
Salt, to taste
Optional: Parmesan cheese, to taste

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