Don't be surprised when this Pasta alla Vodka recipe works its way into your regular dinner rotation. It's that good.
The sauce has incredible flavor and richness that will surprise you and leave your family asking for more.
Four reasons to love this recipe
1. The flavor and richness
Don't get pasta alla vodka sauce confused with ordinary tomato or spaghetti sauce: this is on a totally different level!
You will immediately notice the richness of the sauce: this comes from heavy cream and a generous amount of olive oil.
And the vodka serves an important purpose too: some of the flavors in this dish are fat-soluble, meaning that they are "brought out" when they cook in fat. But others are alcohol-soluble (especially in the tomatoes). You don't taste the vodka per se, but it brings amazing complexity to the dish.
Serious Eats has a good article about vodka in a vodka sauce if you want to learn more.
2. It's fast
This recipe is done in less than 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for any midweek dinner.
3. Most ingredients are in your pantry
Forget to make dinner plans? No problem.
This recipe doesn't require many special ingredients so you're likely to have most of them in your pantry already.
4. It's inexpensive
This recipe will feed 4 people for less than $3 per person!
Ingredients for Pasta alla Vodka
|Penne or Rigatoni Pasta
|Whole peeled or
|Crushed Red Pepper
Tomatoes: Whole peeled tomatoes are preferred: I just blast them right in the can with my immersion blender. Crushed tomatoes are perfectly fine, though, and will save you a step.
Pasta: If you don't have Penne or Rigatoni, don't sweat it.
This vodka sauce will work with any pasta you have on hand, hence the name...'PASTA' alla vodka. But tubular pastas are ideal because the sauce gets inside the hollow center—YUM.
How to make the pasta alla vodka sauce
From prep to serving, this dish will be ready 30 minutes.
1. Prep, measure and assemble all your ingredients
Getting all of this done ahead of time ensures you're not scrambling to do it during the cooking process.
With everything ready to go (your "mise en place"), it makes cooking much more organized and relaxing.
2. Start you pasta water
Begin by adding 1 tablespoon of table salt to 4 quarts (16 cups) of cold water in a large pot.
Did you know? You should always use cold tap water in cooking. Even the EPA says so. (Environmental Protection Agency)
3. Saute the aromatics
Turn the heat to medium-low.
Starting from a cold pan allows more time for the garlic and red pepper to infuse into the oil.
Cook this for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to color very slightly and is fragrant.
4. Add the crushed tomatoes
Then, add the crushed tomatoes to the garlic oil mixture and stir.
Simmer on low, uncovered, until your pasta is ready. Be mindful to stir it every few minutes.
If you find that the sauce is splattering while simmering, cover it with a splatter screen.
Your sauce will simmer for 15 - 20 minutes while the pasta is cooking.
5. Cook the pasta
While the sauce is simmering, check on the water. Once it reaches a boil, drop the pasta.
Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than what the directions recommend. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce later.
6. Add the pasta to the sauce
Before adding the pasta, give the sauce a taste. Now is the time to add additional salt if you feel it's needed.
You will notice the sauce has slightly reduced and darkened while it simmered.
Once the pasta is done, drain it well and immediately add it to the sauce. Do not rinse it.
Mix it thoroughly throughout the sauce.
Fun fact: if you simply stirred in the pasta, cooked it in the sauce, and then served, you would have made pasta all' arrabbiata (spicy tomato pasta). But we're after richness and decadence. On we go!
7. Add the vodka, then the cream
Once the pasta is mixed with the sauce, immediately add the vodka and mix it in thoroughly.
Right after the vodka, add the cream and mix it again.
Add and mix these separately.
8. Cover and simmer
Cover the pasta alla vodka and simmer on low until you reach your desired tenderness, around 2-3 minutes.
9. Top with parsley and serve
Can you add a protein to pasta alla vodka?
Shrimp is an excellent protein choice for this rich sauce. Or, you could go extra-decadent and opt for lobster.
How to cook shrimp for pasta alla vodka
Season the shrimp with a little salt and pepper and saute in a little butter over medium heat.
Cook the shrimp 60-90 seconds per side until done.
Then layer them atop each serving of pasta alla vodka.
That's as simple as it gets! We hope that your family enjoys Pasta alla Vodka as much as we do.
—Stay safe, friends, and stay well.
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- Homemade Pizza!
- Prep, measure, and assemble all the ingredients.
- In a large pot add 1 tablespoon of table salt to 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
- In a heavy bottom pan add the oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt. Then turn the burner on and saute under medium low heat until the garlic is begins to color slightly and become fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Simmer on medium-low, uncovered, until the pasta is done cooking, about 20 minutes.
- Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop your pasta and cook for 2 minutes LESS than the package directions.
- Once the pasta is done, drain and immediately add it to the simmering tomato sauce. Mix it thoroughly.
- Add the vodka and mix thoroughly.
- Add the cream and mix thoroughly.
- Cover and simmer on low until desired pasta tenderness is achieved, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately and top with chopped fresh parsley.
- You can also use crushed tomatoes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 670mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 11g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!