This sauce has officially become my favourite pasta sauce. I’ve had it before but I swear the one I made was yummier than all of the ones in my past. It’s creamy, extremely tasty, a tiny bit spicy and just so darn good. This pasta alla vodka is guaranteed to be on your top 10 comfort food dishes :).
Pasta-wise you’re going to want to use a pasta that can really catch this sauce because it’s one of those were you really want to have a mouthful of sauce on each bite. Therefore try to go for tubular or highly textured pasta.
If you’re concerned about the vodka in this sauce and alcohol content, don’t be. All of the alcohol evaporates from the pan and then in the oven leaving behind only the taste from the vodka, just like when we use wine. So it’s perfectly fine for kids and people who don’t like to drink alcohol.
The spiciness is key to this dish but if you don’t like spicy food by all means remove it or add a tiny bit instead of the whole amount in the recipe. At the foot of the recipe I’ll give you recommendations depending on your spiciness tolerance.
When it comes to cooking the pasta you want to season your water with salt (about 1 tbsp for 6 people-worth pasta) so that it absorbs it as it swells. No oil is needed because it’s just floating over the pasta, not affecting it at all. However, if it’s ready before you pasta and you don’t want it sticking to each other you can add olive oil after rinsing.
For the sauce I used canned tomatoes and the reason for that is that it’s not tomato season and so they’re not very juicy nor tasty. However if you’re at the market and you see some nice tomatoes go for the ones ripest, they even sell them at a discount sometimes. You want them to be really soft and juicy, not the ones you would choose for a salad at all.
- 400 g pasta cooked al dente
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1/2 tsp pepperoncino / chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 250 ml vodka (about 1 cup)
- 10-12 canned tomatoes (2 large cans), roughly chopped and without the excess liquid
- crust from a parmesan cheese piece (optional)
- 250 ml whipping cream (about 1 cup)
- 50 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- to taste salt
- chopped basil or oregano to garnish
- On a pan (hopefully oven safe) cook the onion with the olive oil on medium-low heat until really soft and translucent.
- Once cooked add the garlic, oregano and chili flakes and cook for a minute.
- Add the vodka and let it boil until its volume has reduced by half
- Add the tomatoes, mix and wait for it to come to a boil again. If you have one, also add the parmesan crust.
- If your pan is oven-safe, take to a preheated oven at 200C for 20-30min or until nearly no liquid is left. If you don't own an oven-safe pan then transfer all the contents to an oven-safe dish first and then take it to the oven.
- Once out of the oven remove the parmesan cheese crust and take to a blender of food processor along with the cream and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Return to a pot or pan and add the grated parmesan cheese, letting it melt.
- Correct the level of salt and add the pasta. Try to have the pasta just about to turn al dente so it finishes cooking in the sauce.
- Serve with chopped basil or fresh oregano.