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5 from 45 votes

Pasta alla Vodka

Pasta alla Vodka is a creamy, tomato-based pasta that is SO delicious. It’s easy to throw together with minimal ingredients—the perfect weeknight dinner. This pasta dish is inspired by Carbone in New York City and Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 2
Cost: $9


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound pasta of choice I like tubular pasta in this application
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pasta water reserved
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano plus more as garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter straight from the fridge
  • Minced Italian parsley as garnish


  • In a large saucepan, set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When warm, add the minced onion, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato paste, along with the red pepper flakes, and cook it until the tomato paste turns a really dark red color, about 3 minutes. Add the vodka and let it sizzle and allow the vodka to cook off a bit, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and mix it until smooth. Turn off the sauce. Now, we’re gonna boil the pasta!
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. You want the water as salty as the sea. Pour in the pasta and cook it until about 1 minute shy of al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta.
  • Turn the heat up on the sauce to medium. Pour in 1/2 cup pasta water, along with the grated Parmesan-Reggiano and give it a taste. Add salt to taste. I added a pinch or two. Pour in the pasta and then add in the cold butter. Mix it vigorously for 1 minute, until thick and luscious.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan-Reggiano and some minced Italian parsley.


Tips and Tricks: 
  • Use Bronze-Die Pasta! Bronze-die pasta is referring to the extruder used in the pasta-making process. Using a bronze extruder or mold means that the outside of the pasta is a rougher texture. This is better for the sauce to adhere to AND releases more starch in the water, resulting in a thicker more luscious sauce.
  • Time management. So much of making pasta is about time management. I wrote this recipe with that in mind. You make half of the sauce AND then boil the pasta. And then you work your way back to the sauce. Be sure to prep all of your ingredients beforehand since it goes very quickly once you begin. 
Le Creuset Braiser | Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Colander |
This recipe is inspired by pasta alla vodkas I've eaten at Carbone in New York and Jon & Vinny's in Los Angeles. 


Serving: 4g | Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 389IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 3mg