30 Minute Dinners, Dinner, Pasta, Vegetarian

Easy Pasta alla Vodka

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Vodka sauce is a delicious combination of vodka, cream, and a tomato base that provides a bit of a kick due to the alcohol content. While the alcohol burns off when cooking, the vodka provides a sharp taste that is complemented by the acidity of the tomatoes and sweetness of the heavy cream. It makes a fantastic weeknight dinner and while you can buy it premade at a store, it’s just as easy (and tastes better) if you make it yourself.

What kind of pasta should I use?

Penne and rigatoni are popular pasta choices for this dish, but you can really use any tube-shaped pasta. Ziti will also hold well with the sauce if you have it on hand.

Gather the tomato paste, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, garlic salt, black pepper, and vodka and set aside. Then, finely mince the garlic and shallot. I like to buy the pre-minced garlic, but if you want to save time you can finely chop both of these in a food processor or chopper.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add in the minced garlic and shallot. Took it for two minutes until it starts to darken, but stir it continuously to keep it from burning. This allows for the garlic flavors to fully develop for the sauce.

Next, add in the crushed red pepper flakes, basil, garlic salt, and black pepper. Keep stirring to prevent burning, then add in the tomato paste and stir for an extra three minutes. Once the tomato paste mixture is fully combined, add in the vodka and stir while scraping the sides of the pan, then remove from the heat.

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook eight minutes or until al dente, then set aside one cup of the pasta’s water before draining the noodles. Gather the heavy cream and parmesan for the sauce.

Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and add the heavy whipping cream, half of the parmesan, and half of the pasta water. Stir until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the sauce is bubbling, turn off the heat.

Gently fold in the pasta immediately after removing from the stovetop heat, then add in the remaining parmesan. If the sauce appears to be dry, add a little of the remaining pasta water at a time until the sauce is at your preferred consistency. I usually end up adding the entire remaining 1/2 cup of water, but you can use more or less as you wish. Once the parmesan and pasta water has been thoroughly folded, top with additional parmesan cheese and basil before serving.


Pasta alla Vodka

Course: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter

  • 1 shallot

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 Tsp dried basil

  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

  • 1/4 Tsp black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp vodka

  • 1 lb. tubed pasta, such as penne or rigatoni

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

  • fresh or lightly dried basil for serving

  • parmesan for serving

Directions

  • Mince garlic and shallots. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and shallots and stir continuously for two minutes.
  • Add in crushed red pepper, dried basil, garlic salt, and black pepper to the shallot mixture and continue to cook for three minutes. Keep stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add tomato paste to pan and stir until fully combined for three minutes. Add vodka and stir while scraping sides of pan, then remove from heat.
  • Boil large pot of salted water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Return sauce to heat and add heavy cream, half of parmesan, and 1/2 cup of pasta water, stirring to combine and until parmesan is melted. Turn off heat and stir in cooked pasta. Fold in remaining Parmesan, adding more pasta water if the sauce is dry. Serve topped with more Parmesan and fresh or lightly dried basil.

Notes

  • Want to add a protein? Cooked chicken or shrimp are fantastic with this recipe.

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