Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

If there is one thing I love outside of Mexican food (it’s my first love)… It is pasta. I love pasta, I love cream sauces, pesto sauces, marinara sauces.. Pasta in all shapes and sizes. I could eat pasta 3 times a week and be a happy gal. My hands down favorite is taking a rich, robust tomato based sauce and adding, you guessed it, heavy cream to the mix. Honestly, heavy cream is like butter, there’s no substitute. A creamy tomato sauce pasta wins in my book every time. 

How do we make it even better? Add a little booze. Yep. Add some vodka. And don’t forget the red pepper! 

Pasta with Vodka Sauce
Serves 6
traditional pasta with vodka sauce recipe
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 1 pound penne pasta
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 onion, chopped
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 cup vodka
  6. 14 oz. tomato puree
  7. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
  9. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  12. 3 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. When complete, drain the pasta, and reserve 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. While pasta is cooking, start on the sauce.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add in garlic and onions. Stir and allow to cook for several minutes or until slightly browned.
  3. Pour in vodka. Stir and cook off for three minutes. Add in tomato puree and paste. Stir.
  4. Reduce heat to low and pour in heavy cream. Allow to simmer, careful not to burn. Add in red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  6. Pour mixture into serving bowl. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and sliced basil.
  7. Enjoy.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Prairie Californian
 Jenny Dewey Rohrich


  1. Maria
    December 23, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    Hey Jenny, great post! Loved the whole dish. I just replaced tomato puree with tomato paste to add some more thickness to the sauce as I love a thick sauce with penne pasta meals.
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