You guys, this Easy Vodka Sauce and Pasta is the perfect recipe if you need to get dinner on the table pronto.
The recipe was shared with me by a friend (Hi, Karlee 👋🏻), who said she’d made it for her family four times already since she got the cookbook, Food Swings by Jessica Seinfeld. I’ve adapted it just slightly from that recipe (a little extra spice, a little less salt…), but I totally agree with Karlee…. this Easy Vodka Sauce and Pasta is a keeper.
Plus, it’s super fast to put together, and is made with only a few simple ingredients. This is the kind of recipe I love having in my recipe file, for nights when I need something family-friendly, quick and easy.
How to Make Easy Vodka Sauce and Pasta
You will need a little bit of vodka and a large can of tomatoes. I prefer the San Marzano kind, because they are more flavorful, and since there are not very many ingredients in this recipe, better quality tomatoes really do make a difference.
But, if you’re just trying to get dinner on the table, any kind of tomatoes can work. Tomatoes are not something to stress about. We’re trying to go easy here, remember?
Sauté the minced garlic and red pepper in olive oil, and then add the vodka. (Be careful when working with alcohol and an open flame!)
You can adjust the red pepper as needed for your family to make it more or less spicy, but I thought 1/2 teaspoon was perfect.
Cook until the vodka is nearly evaporated.
Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or spatula as they cook. I have THIS cool tool that works great for this, as well as for breaking up ground meat as it browns.
Feel free to indulge in a glass of red wine at this time. Or vodka.
Lower the heat, and add the cream and grated Parmesan. Season with extra salt to taste.
Add the cooked and drained rigatoni pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat. Stir in chopped fresh basil to taste.
Top with extra grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this with garlic toast, and you have a meal that will please both the kids and adults in your home.
See, wasn’t that easy? Karlee didn’t steer me wrong. 😂
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Easy Vodka Sauce and Pasta
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper can use less if serving children
- ⅓ cup vodka
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes San Marzano are best
- ½ cup heavy cream
- fresh basil leaves
- Fill a large pot of water, with 2 tsp of salt, and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (until al dente). Drain.
- Chop the garlic and grate the Parmesan. Set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds.
- Slowly pour in the vodka and cook until it is nearly evaporated, being careful to keep the vodka bottle away from the flame.
- Add the canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a spatuala. Lower heat to medium and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and grated Parmesan and simmer 3-5 minutes longer. Season with extra salt to taste.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat with the sauce.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the basil and top with extra Parmesan.
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