Pasta Alla Vodka

Dinner | December 22, 2019 | By

Pasta Alla Vodka ~ tender pasta in a rich, delicious tomato-cream vodka sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese for an easy, restaurant quality meal in under 30 minutes.

We met a group of neighbors for dinner recently at an upscale Italian restaurant. The Pasta Alla Vodka I ordered was delicious, but definitely overpriced. I mean really, it’s still pasta at the end of the day.

My first thought was that I couldn’t wait to eat it again, but that I’d be enjoying it in the comfort of my own home, fuzzy slippers and all. Made at home, this dish is every bite delicious and doesn’t have to break the bank. 

white bowl with pasta and vodka sauce topped with grated parmesan cheese

If you’re like us and don’t care for fancy parties or bars on New Years Eve, this is a great recipe option. Whether it’s just for two or you’re entertaining friends, skip the overpriced, uninspiring restaurant meal and enjoy fine dining at home. You won’t regret it.

Does Pasta Alla Vodka actually contain vodka?

Yes, this creamy tomato sauce does actually contain vodka and while I’m no stranger to adding booze to a recipe, it’s usually wine. Vodka adds it’s own unique flavor elevating this dish. As the sauce simmers, the alcohol is boiled off. 

What else is in Pasta Alla Vodka?

  • short pasta (penne, rigatoni or orecchiette)
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • vodka
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • tomato puree
  • heavy cream
  • parmesan cheese
  • parsley

How to make Pasta Alla Vodka:

Cook the pasta according to package directions then reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta then rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Grate in the garlic, stirring to combine and cook just a few seconds until you’re able to smell the garlic. Stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Pour in the vodka and cook 8-10 minutes over medium low heat or until the vodka is reduced by about half then sprinkle on the crushed red pepper flakes. 

Add the tomato puree then once it’s combined, fold in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil then add the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste and cook 2-3 minutes letting the cheese melt. 

Blend the pasta into the sauce so it’s completely coated then add the parsley. If the sauce is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. 

Garnish with extra parsley (or even basil) and more parmesan cheese and eat right away.

pasta blended with vodka sauce garnished with basil

Tips for making this recipe:

Don’t rush the cooking process after adding the vodka. If it isn’t cooked long enough you may have an aftertaste of alcohol. 

Do you want to add a protein? Baked chicken, shrimp or even Italian sausage would be delicious.

Mushrooms, zucchini or a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach would be really good in this recipe, too.

The sauce calls for heavy cream. Please don’t substitute milk. You won’t have the same creaminess.

A small pinch of crushed red pepper adds a light hint of heat but you can leave it out if you’d prefer. 

Looking for other recipes with an Italian flair?

Braised Beef Ragu: Tender, shredded beef in a rich tomato sauce made with every day ingredients. Serve with pasta topped with parmesan cheese. 

Roasted Tomato Marinara: Fresh, homemade pasta sauce with garlic, onion, olive oil and basil. Ladle over your favorite pasta for a delicious comforting meal. 

Turkey Meatballs in Italian sauce: A heathier option – juicy turkey meatballs simmered in rich homemade Italian sauce. Serve with whole grain or your favorite pasta. 

Enjoy!

pinterest pin showing white bowl with pasta and vodka sauce plus sliced chicken breast

 

If you tried this Pasta Alla Vodka recipe or any other on the blog then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating!

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Pasta Alla Vodka

Pasta in a rich, delicious tomato-cream vodka sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese for an easy restaurant quality meal ready in under 30 minutes.
PIN for later!
Print Recipe
CourseMain Course
CuisineItalian
Keywordpasta alla vodka, penne alla vodka
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings4

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces short pasta (penne, rigatoni or the orecchiette used here
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • small pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 14 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta then rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add the onion. Season with salt and pepper then cook 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  • Grate in the garlic, stirring to combine and cook just a few seconds until you’re able to smell the garlic. Stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Pour in the vodka and cook 8-10 minutes over medium low heat or until the vodka is reduced by about half then sprinkle on the crushed red pepper flakes. 
  • Fold in the tomato puree then once it’s combined, add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil then add the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste and cook 2-3 minutes letting the cheese melt. .
  • Blend the pasta into the sauce so it’s completely coated then add the parsley. If the sauce is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Garnish with extra parsley and more parmesan cheese. Eat right away.

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