Monday, July 27, 2009

Pasta alla Vodka

I went through a phase where I simply had no choice; if I went to an Italian restaurant that had a pasta with vodka sauce, I had to order it. Despite the name, it does not taste like a cocktail. But vodka sauce translates into a delicate pink colored, creamy tomato sauce. It's decadent and delicious without being too rich or heavy. And in my opinion, it's particularly good when it's spicy.

Here is a spicy version of vodka sauce that is quick and delicious, with a sophisticated flavor bound to please a discerning dinner guest. Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go.

A note: you don't want juicy tomatoes here, so after you dice them put them in a mesh strainer in the sink for a few minutes to let the excess juices drain away.

Pasta alla Vodka
adapted from
The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook
serves 3


3 medium sized, ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons vodka
salt and freshly ground pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 pound dried short cut pasta (penne, farfalle, etc.)

1/4 cup heavy cream

handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until just starting to turn golden, 1-2 minutes. Add vodka (carefully!) and cook until reduced by half. Add diced tomatoes and season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let it simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or so.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the frying pan. Add cream and stir until sauce is cohesive and pasta is coated in it. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve topped with parsley.



  1. Sounds great. I have been looking for a good alla vodka recipe. One of my long time favorite sauces, but I rarely make it. Weird, huh?