Pasta alla Vodka

By Whisper of Yum
  • Total Time:
    30 minutes
  • Servings:


  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup shallot
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tube double-concentrated tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • ¾ cups heavy cream
  • 2½ ounces parmesan reggiano, freshly grated
  • 1 pound dry pasta of choice
  • kosher salt
  • ¾ cup pasta water, reserved


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot + garlic and cook until softened, 6 minutes.
  2. Add butter, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Stir and press tomato paste into pan. Cook for 4 minutes or until tomato paste turns deep + rusty red in color and begins to caramelize. Add vodka and stir until liquid evaporates. Be sure to cook for at least 2 minutes to ensure alcohol cooks off.
  3. Turn heat to low and slowly add cream. Stir until sauce is smooth and creamy in texture. Remove skillet from heat.
  4. Using a large dutch oven, cook pasta according to package. Be sure to add salt to the water –salty as the sea, as they say.
  5. Receive ¾ cup of pasta water and drain pasta into a colander.
  6. Return to skillet containing sauce and turn heat on low. Add ½ cup of pasta water and 2 ounces of parmesan cheese. Still until cheese dissolves and water is fully incorporated into sauce. Add pasta and stir to combine. Add more pasta water (if needed, I typically only add ½ cup)
  7. Divide pasta among bowls and top with parmesan.