This Pasta with Vodka Sauce recipe is the perfect dinner to throw together with minimal effort, while still being really delicious! It takes less than 30 minutes to whip up with just a handful of basic ingredients!
What is pasta with vodka sauce?
Pasta with vodka sauce is a simple Italian-American dish that consists of cooked pasta tossed together with a creamy tomato based sauce, also infused with a splash of vodka added to it.
Why add vodka to vodka sauce?
People often wonder if the addition of vodka is necessary to add to vodka sauce, since only a small amount is used, and the answer is yes! Although only a small amount is added overall the vodka balances the tomatoes and cream out in the sauce. It creates a subtle peppery heat and herbaceous brightness to the sauce. Also, it wouldn’t really be considered vodka sauce without it!
What kind of pasta should you use?
You can really use any type of pasta you want for this dish with great results. I like using a shaped pasta for this dish, specifically rotini, because I like how the small spirals pick up the sauce so well. If shaped pastas aren’t your favorite, I highly recommend fusilli col buco which is a great long strand pasta that also picks up the sauce really well!
How to make pasta with vodka sauce?
- First cook pasta in a large pot of well salted water to al dente doneness.
- Drain pasta, reserving some of the pasta water (for the sauce).
- Place a skillet over medium heat and sauté shallots and garlic in some oil.
- Add tomato paste and stir together.
- Deglaze pan with vodka and stir together for a few minutes.
- Stir in reserved pasta water and simmer sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in cream and simmer for a few minutes.
- Stir in grated Parmesan and butter until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.
- Add cooked pasta and toss together until well coated.
- Top with more Parmesan and serve!
- Spinach or kale can be added for a healthy dose of leafy greens.
- Shredded or chopped chicken can be added for some protein
- Garbanzo or white beans can also be added for a vegetarian friendly protein
- Herbs such as torn basil, minced thyme or thinly sliced chives can be stirred into the sauce for even more added flavor.
- Crushed red pepper flakes can be added to the dish to add some heat.
I can’t stress enough how much I love quick and easy dishes, and this pasta with vodka sauce recipe is such a great one! They’re really the best kinds of recipes, especially when you want to throw a great meal together in a short amount of time, with a handful of ingredients! We have so many other delicious recipes that are quick and easy and some of my absolute favorite are: Garlic Noodles, Romesco Sauce Rigatoni, Mongolian Beef, and our Cheesy Sweet Potato Fritters Enjoy! xx, Jenny
Here are some yummy salads that go well with our homemade vodka sauce:
Hungry for more?
The Best Homemade Vodka Sauce Recipe
- 8 oz dry rotini (or pasta shape of choice)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ⅔ cup tomato paste
- 3 tbsp vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with water, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add a small handful salt to water and add pasta.
- Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, and set both aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Once skillet is hot add oil and sauté shallots and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, or until aromatics begin to slightly caramelize.
- Add tomato paste and stir together. Continue to stir until paste turns bright red,2 to 3 minutes.
- Deglaze skillet with vodka and stir together until vodka evaporates. Add reserved pasta water to skillet and stir together until smooth, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir cream into sauce until mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer together, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butter and Parmesan and continue to simmer until sauce is smooth, glossy and has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
- Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss together until fully coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with more grated Parmesan and black pepper.
- The pasta can be cooked and stored in an airtight container up to 3 days. The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and also stored in an airtight container (separate from the sauce) until ready to use.
When ready to serve, pour sauce into a large saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir pasta into sauce and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes until pasta has heated through. Serve.
- The pasta can be made, stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in refrigerator and stir into heated sauce until completely heated through.
To freeze sauce ahead of time, make sauce until it’s time to add cream. Cool completely, then store partially made sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw sauce in refrigerator. Heat sauce in a saucepan until heated through, then stir in cream and simmer. Adjust seasonings before adding pasta and tossing together. Simmer until heated through and serve.