treatment for alopecia

Pasta alla Vodka

by Emma on January 30, 2012

in Dinner

I had seen this recipe (or, I guess, versions of this recipe anyway) around the ole’ internets. Here and there. And I always thought the same thing: Why the heck would you put vodka in pasta sauce?


Vodka… in pasta sauce.

I get wine. Wine in sauce totally makes sense. You drink wine with pasta. It’s a thing.

Yeah, you could totally drink vodka with pasta too… sure. It just doesn’t seem like the intuitive thing. That’s all.

My point is, I was skeptical. I was skeptical that this wouldn’t taste like a bad cocktail. I was skeptical that this was something that should be paired together over pasta; vodka and tomatoes. Weird couple. And you know what, I’m just going to say it: I was a little skeptical of the motives of this recipes’ original creator. I mean…. why did they decide to put vodka in their pasta sauce… what made them think to do that… is this the sort of person I should trust for dinner ideas… I’ll let you work that one out.

But then one night, I was out. And I was with a friend, eating somewhere I had never been. And there wasn’t much on the menu that I was feeling. So I got the soup. Which happened to be a tomato soup, that had vodka in it. And. It was pretty delicious. So I recanted my skepticism and…. I made pasta.

Pasta all Vodka, recipe (barely) adapted from here.

Needed: 16 ounces dried pasta (any kind you like), 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup vodka, 1/3 cup cream, and fresh basil for serving.

Cook your pasta according to the directions, or if you feel confident enough don’t even look at those directions. Tempt fate.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a sauce pan. Sautee the onions until they begin to soften then add the garlic. Drain the tomatoes of the juices (reserve them as you may find that you want to add it in later if you think the sauce is too thick). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, vodka and cream. Cook for 4-5 minutes, letting everything mingle. Get to know each other. Now you need to blend up the sauce. I do this using an immersion blender (love my immersion blender!) but you could also do this in batches in a blender, or for a more rustic sauce simply use a large wooden spoon to crush the whole tomatoes against the side of the pot.

Once the sauce is blended and hot, serve over warm pasta with a few ribbons of fresh basil. Do it.

xo. Emma


Rae Veda January 30, 2012 at 12:19 am

This sounds so yummy. I have been craving pasta lately and this sounds like it will do the trick. Thanks! xo, rv

vivi k January 30, 2012 at 12:43 am

I’ve had bought vodka cheese pasta sauce many times before!
It’s super delicious and makes me want to try this recipe of yours! Thanks for sharing Emma.
You are such an inspiriation in the kitchen!

Much love, Vivi

Georgia January 30, 2012 at 1:00 am

mmm…i love pasta so much!


JJanga January 30, 2012 at 2:03 am

Oooh my Russian boyfriend would love this! It sounds so good!

xoxo, Jjanga

teddi January 30, 2012 at 2:47 am

emma, i’ve had this at italian restaurants before, in their own version. so i’m not surprised by the vodka idea, but i was the 1st time i saw it. ;)

eat my shorts January 30, 2012 at 2:55 am

It sounds completely bonkers – but sometimes those are the things that work the best. I’ll definitely have to try it one day! :)

Mama Smith @projectlittlesmith January 30, 2012 at 3:06 am

I’ve always been curious about making this dish – I’ve enjoyed eating it but it might be the one pasta dish I haven’t attempted. Time to get some vodka!

debbie January 30, 2012 at 3:24 am

haha you are hilarious – but I bet it’s delicious! I love anything pasta.

jackie @ marin mama cooks January 30, 2012 at 6:23 am

This is a staple in our house and one of my kids favorites. The first time I made this for them and they saw me pouring in the vodka they were shocked and a bit skeptical! I had to explain that the vodka cooks off and they would not taste it :)
I do wonder myself who first decided to throw some vodka into their spaghetti sauce and why. I think it must of happened by mistake or maybe not!

sa January 30, 2012 at 6:51 am

Vodka tastes amazing in pasta sauces! my dad does this a lot petty much whenever he makes pasta. he also adds it to his bbq cuttlefish. yum.

Lucy January 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

Vodka, tomatoes… it’s the gastronomic equivalent of a bloody mary cocktail! (P.S. It looks delicious!)

Nicolette Lafonseca-Hargreaves January 30, 2012 at 11:00 am

Yummy Bloody Mary pasta fab! Nicolette xo

May Casson January 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

It looks amazing! I want to try this!


hannah alehandra January 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Looks delicious! So curious as to how this would taste.

call me debbie January 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Well it doesn’t make sense to me neither but if you think a little more, bloody mary is made with vodka and tomato sauce and it’s pretty great! i will give it a chance i think, even that i am not a vodka-girl! :D

(New blog needing some love and support:

call me debbie January 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

This doesn’t make sense neither to me but if you think it better, boody mary is made by tomato sauce and vodka too and it’s pretty amazing! I will give it a shot, i like new things, even if i am not a vodka girl! :D

(New blog needing some love and support:

andrea lynne rose January 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm

ha when i saw the vodka in the title i thought the same thing!

Urban Wife January 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Ever since our local grocery store came out with their own brand of ‘Vodka Pasta Cream Sauce’, I am a convert. When we occassionally buy pasta sauce, it’s that one or nothing at all!

lily darger January 31, 2012 at 12:40 am

I love your blog, but never comment. By the time I get to the end of a post, my stomach is growling and I’m off to prowl the cupboards :)

marla January 31, 2012 at 2:50 am

i love paul newman’s vodka sauce!

irene January 31, 2012 at 2:54 am

looks delicious… :)

Irene Wibowo

Kristen January 31, 2012 at 4:12 am

You’ve never had Penne Vodka?! It’s always the most interesting thing when you see people who have never had something that you grew up eating your whole life. Add pea’s to it. Delicious. I know, sounds weird. But trust me. Plus, you add a whole veggie to it. Also, your food photography makes me tingle inside because the food always looks so delicious.

xo kristen

Nika January 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

This sounds great. You just saved me 2 hours of meaningless searching for today’s lunch. Thank you!

Roseanne January 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Sounds delicious.Thanks for sharing!

Margaret January 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I must say, coming from a vodka-experienced country myself, I don’t see why there would be any actual point in adding the vodka. It is a distilled drink, which doesn’t really have any other taste to it than alcohol. It’s just alcohol and water. You can’t taste the potato or grain that it’s made of. And if you cook it, the alcohol dissolves, leaving only the water.
This recipe sounds delicious. But have you tried it without the vodka – doesn’t it taste the same?
Just wondering…

Emma January 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm

You can still taste the alcohol, it doesn’t all cook out as you add it toward the end. But yes, you could leave it out and still have a really yummy sauce. ;)