Baked Penne Alla Vodka with Turkey

baked penne alla vodka with turkey
Lucy Schaeffer

There is nothing quite as comforting as a baked pasta dish. The sides get a little crispy and topping of melty cheese is to die for. Here we changed up the classic Penne alla Vodka a little bit and added in ground turkey. The result is a creamy pasta that satisfies every carb craving possible with a little extra boost of protein. 

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Yields: 6 - 8 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
1 lb.


1 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb.

ground turkey

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper 


small yellow onion, diced


cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c.

tomato paste

1/2 c.



(28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 c.

heavy cream

1/2 c.

freshly grated Parmesan, divided 

1/2 tsp.

crushed red pepper flakes 

8 oz.

fresh mozzarella, sliced

Fresh basil, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, boil pasta until almost al dente, about 2 minutes less than directions call for. Drain. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot or large high-sided skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add turkey and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain any excess grease as needed. 
  3. Return skillet over medium heat and season turkey with salt and pepper. Add onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and stir until meat is well coated and starts to darken, about 1 minute. Add vodka and cook, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until completely reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, ¼ cup of Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat and let simmer while pasta continues to cook or at least until mixture is warmed all the way through, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add drained pasta to sauce and stir to coat. Pour pasta into a large baking dish. Top with remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan and mozzarella slices. 
  5. Bake until cheese is melty and sides are bubbling, about 25 minutes. 
  6. Top with fresh basil to serve.

Lucy Schaeffer
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