Pasta Alla Vodka

Vodka Pasta is an American Italian style pasta made famous by New York institutions like Carbone and then it became probably one of the most-made dishes of 2020 when Gigi Hadid posted her version of the recipe on Instagram in lockdown March 2020. 

The tomato paste makes it savoury and flavourful, the vodka acts as a solvent and brings out the flavours in the tomatoes, the cream makes it rich and rounded and the chilli oil takes it to another level. One of those perfect sauces where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Ideally always make this pasta with a ridged pasta shape like rigatoni. It’s the perfect pasta shape as the sauce clings to the ridges. Don’t use long pasta like spaghetti or linguine, that’s sacrilegious.

Serves 4
Ingredients 11
Cooking time 25 minutes
Skill level Easy


  • Small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 shots of vodka 
  • 500g of Rigatoni
  • 150g of Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) or Grana Padano cheese, freshly grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes or 1 tablespoon of chilli oil
  • 130g of concentrated tomato paste
  • 300ml of thickened cream


    1. In a large pot with boiling and heavily salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Save a cup of the pasta water just before you drain it
    2. Meanwhile, in a large and heated pan with the olive oil, sweat out the onion, garlic and chilli flakes/oil on medium heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent
    3. Add in the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes on medium or until the mixture becomes deep red in colour
    4. Add the vodka to deglaze the pan and stir to incorporate, scraping the bottom of the pot. Make sure all the vodka evaporates and reduce the heat to low
    5. Slowly add the thickened cream to the sauce, stirring constantly until a smooth sauce forms. It should be a creamy orange colour
    6. Add the cooked pasta to the pan. Add ½ cup of saved pasta water to the pan and stir to incorporate. Gradually add half of the cheese, stirring constantly to melt. The sauce should be smooth and glossy. Add a splash of more pasta water to thin the sauce, if needed
    7. Plate and serve the fresh basil leaves, more cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

    If you loved this recipe, you can take it to the next level by trying my Vodka Pasta 2.0 recipe!


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