Vodka sauce doesn't need to be difficult! This super easy 15 minute vodka pasta recipe is perfect for busy weeknights, romantic date nights, or even meal prep.
I'm such a huge fan of vodka sauce, and even a bigger fan of 15 minute meals, so this recipe is just a winner! It's tasty but not too overpowering, and can be paired nicely with wine and proteins.
This recipe is super easy. You'll start by boiling a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta to package directions, and make sure you save a mug full of pasta water before you drain the pasta!
While the water is boiling, heat butter in a large skillet. Sauté garlic, then add salt, pepper, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. You'll let simmer for a few minutes, then add vodka, pasta water, and heavy cream, and let simmer again.
Finally, you'll fold in the cheese, add the pasta, and stir to combine! The final result is a silky, cheesy, delicious pasta that you won't be able to stop eating!
You'll definitely want to keep this in your regular dinner rotation!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Delicious - This homemade vodka sauce recipe is so delicious. Each bite is of this pink sauce is packed with the best flavor that your family will truly love! It's really a perfect dish for the whole family.
Approachable - This recipe is approachable and is easy to make. You only need a few kitchen tools to make this great recipe. The best part of this pasta recipe is easy enough to make for a weeknight, but also fancy-feeling enough to make for a date night! I love serving with a side of garlic bread and a glass of red wine.
Easy - This dish looks like it came from the kitchen of a local Italian restaurant, but is so easy to make!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Unsalted Butter
- Garlic - Minced
- Kosher Salt - Or sea salt
- Black Pepper
- Tomato Paste - This helps thicken the sauce
- Tomato Sauce - Adds tomato flavor to balance out the cream. You can also use canned tomatoes if you prefer a chunky sauce.
- Vodka - You can use any vodka you have on hand. Don't worry, the alcohol will cook off!
- Heavy Cream - You can also use half and half
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Pasta - I love this sauce with a variety of different pasta shapes
Let's make this recipe together!
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat. When water is boiling, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Sauté for one minute, until fragrant. Add salt, pepper, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add vodka and stir. Add 1 cup of pasta water and heavy cream. Stir and let simmer for two minutes. Add cooked pasta and toss in the sauce.
Turn heat to low, and fold in parmesan cheese. Once combined, add pasta to the pan. If needed, add more pasta water to reach your desired consistency. Serve with more parmesan and enjoy! I also love topping with fresh basil.
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this vodka sauce recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Large Skillet - You'll want a high quality large skillet with enough room to make the sauce and add the pasta.
Pasta Bowl - I love serving pasta in good quality pasta bowls. They're perfect for a variety of dishes, so they're super versatile!
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this pasta alla vodka recipe.
Make it Spicy - Add a kick with some red pepper flakes. It will give a bit of heat to this pasta dish.
Add Herbs - I love serving this with fresh herbs like fresh basil or fresh oregano.
Sauce Texture - This is a smooth vodka sauce, but if you like texture in your sauces, you can always add San Marzano Tomatoes for a chunky sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vodka sauce, also traditionally known as Penne alla Vodka, is a creamy Italian pasta sauce with vodka, tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. It's a great sauce for pastas that have holes, like penne or rigatoni.
Vodka adds depth to the sauce - it's doesn't add it's own taste, but it does enhance the flavor of other ingredients. It's a great addition to bring out flavors of garlic, cheese, and tomato in a sauce.
Yep! Grilled chicken is an excellent addition to penne alla vodka. Some other great options would also be braised short ribs or sautéed shrimp.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this creamy tomato sauce recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight continuer and eat leftovers within 4-5 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed below.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet with a little olive oil over low heat until warm.
Other Recipes to Try
Super Easy 15 Minute Vodka Pasta Recipe
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup vodka
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated parmesan plus more for serving
- 1 lb pasta
- Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat. When water is boiling, cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Sauté for one minute, until fragrant.
- Add salt, pepper, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add vodka and stir. Add 1 cup of pasta water and heavy cream. Stir and let simmer for two minutes.
- Turn heat to low, and fold in parmesan cheese. Once melted, add pasta to the pan. If needed, add more pasta water to reach your desired consistency. Serve with more parmesan and enjoy!