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Spicy Garlic Pasta alla Vodka

Spicy Garlic Pasta alla Vodka

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Spicy Garlic Pasta alla Vodka is a lusciously creamy and cheesy tomato sauce spiked with vodka and with a delicious spicy kick. This recipe serves 2 generous portions or 4 smaller servings.
Course Mains & Entrees
Cuisine Italian
Keyword dinner, easy recipe, Italian, meatless, pasta, quick, tomato sauce, vodka
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 2 to 4
Calories 877
Author Laurie McNamara


  • 8 ounces short pasta plus sea salt for pasta water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 pinch kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • fresh basil chiffonade (thinly sliced) for serving


  • Fill a pot with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. This will take a bit so I start the sauce at the same time.
  • Pour the oil into a 12-inch pan. Add the shallot, garlic with a pinch of kosher salt. Heat over medium to medium-low, stir and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Once soft, stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in heavy cream and vodka. Season with red pepper flakes (more if you want it extra spicy). Lastly, melt in the butter.
  • Remove off of the heat and stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • By now the water should be boiling. Add a palmful of fine sea salt, stir and drop in the pasta. Cook according to the package directions, stirring occasionally.
  • When the pasta is almost finished, remove 1/2 cup pasta water and pour it into the sauce. The sauce should still be off of the burner.
  • Drain the pasta into a colander and immediately transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce. Place it back on the burner, over low heat, and toss until coated and heated. This should only take a minute since the pasta will be hot.
  • Immediately serve with thinly sliced (chiffonade) fresh basil leaves, grated fresh parmesan cheese and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 877kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 66g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 406mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g