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Secret Recipe Club: Pasta tossed in a velvety vodka-tomato-cream sauce. Elegance and rustic comfort all in one dish.

pasta alla vodka

It’s time again for our Secret Recipe Club  ’reveal day’. For the uninitiated, the Secret Recipe Club is a group of around 100 food bloggers, who are separated into four smaller blogging groups. Every month, we’re each assigned a blog in our group to look through. We try a few recipes and chose one to post about. But all month long, we keep our assignment a secret until ‘reveal day’. It’s been a lot of fun – and I’ve found some great new blogs to follow and new recipes to add to my rotation.

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned to Nicole of Colie’s Kitchen. Nicole and I have some things in common. We both hate to clean, but hate a dirty house. And we both live in a constant state of organized chaos. There are so many wonderful, homey recipes on her blog, it was hard (as usual) to narrow it down! Some of the recipes that caught my eye were Taco Hummus, Jalapeño Cheddar Jack Drop Biscuits, and her Triple Berry Dump Cake. But when push came to shove, I kept coming back to her Fantastico Vodka Pasta Sauce.

Pasta(s) alla Vodka have been around for awhile now, and I’ve watched people swoon over them from the sidelines. I don’t know why I waited so long to try one, but I get distracted by a bazillion other recipes I want to try, and flat out forget. There are a bunch of variations out there on this Vodka approach, but they all involve basically the same ingredients: tomato sauce, cream, both butter and olive oil, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and lots of Vodka.

So what’s all the fuss about? The alcohol of the Vodka cooks off to leave a savory flavor that falls somewhere between Vodka and wine, taking the sauce to another level.  And what a sauce. It’s like velvet. Smooth, subtly decadent, with enough body to cling to the noodles.  You can spice it up a bit with dried red pepper flakes and toss in some basil slivers, but it’s more Lauren Bacall than Sophia Loren. Subtle, casually elegant, and sexy. And addictive. Think stilettos with blue jeans. Now go make it and tell me how you would describe it!

Pasta alla Vodka

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients...

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c vodka
  • 4 c chopped, peeled*, heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 c half 'n half
  • 1 t dried oregano (or dry your own)
  • 1 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • handful of basil leaves, slivered

Directions...

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the olive oil and butter together. Add the chopped onion and sauté until softened, about two minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the vodka and stir in the tomatoes. Lightly simmer for five minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the half 'n half, oregano, salt, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Gently simmer for five minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. Fold the pasta into the sauce, gently tossing with a large metal spoon.
  6. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and slip the pasta into large serving bowl. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and basil.

Cooking Notes...

* To peel the tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut an "X" on the bottom of each tomato, using a sharp knife. Dip each tomato, whole, into the water for 15 seconds. Peel the skin off, starting from the "X".

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31 Responses to “Pasta alla Vodka” Subscribe

  1. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories August 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Susan, this looks so good. I love the photo too. Great pick!
    Karen @ Karen’s Kitchen Stories recently posted..Homemade Taco Seasoning for Mini TacosMy Profile

  2. Karen August 25, 2014 at 1:34 am #

    That boozy pasta has my name all over it Susan and as a veggie lover, I am tempted to make this recipe this week as I have all the ingredients! What a great SRC pick! Karen

  3. Couscous & Consciousness August 25, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    This is a dish I have been meaning to try for ages. I love your description of it – you make it sound very sexy and I can’t wait to give it a try.
    Couscous & Consciousness recently posted..Spinach, Goat Cheese & Beetroot Stacks with Spicy, Caramelised WalnutsMy Profile

  4. April @ Angels Homestead August 25, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    This looks so good Susan, and I love your suggestion of adding fresh basil to it. I cant wait to try this with some veggie noodles.
    April @ Angels Homestead recently posted..Summer Squash Pizza Boats – SRCMy Profile

  5. Sarah E August 25, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Like velvet?? I’m sold. I’ve been meaning to try pasta alla vodka for forever too! Love your photographs – they are just gorgeous :) Happy reveal day!

  6. Lauren Everson August 25, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Vodka sauce is my absolute favorite pasta sauce! Wonderful choice this month.

  7. Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) August 25, 2014 at 6:12 am #

    It has been WAY too long since I’ve had pasta alla vodka, for sure. Your version looks fantastic. I must make some this week!

  8. sara August 25, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    Mmm, vodka sauce is one of my all time favorites…so delicious! Great pick. Visiting from Group A :)

  9. SallyBR August 25, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    One of my favorite sauces, I haven’t made it in quite a while, thanks for bringing it back into my radar!

    have a fantastic Reveal Day!
    SallyBR recently posted..SECRET RECIPE CLUB: TACO SALADMy Profile

  10. Rebekah @ Making Miracles August 25, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Mmm… that looks absolutely WONDERFUL! Great choice this month!!
    Rebekah @ Making Miracles recently posted..Secret Recipe Club: Tomato Bacon JamMy Profile

  11. apuginthekitchen August 25, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    I love vodka sauce but have never made it before, your pasta dish is wonderful, love it, I love the combination of cream and tomato and cheese there is something so homey and comforting about this dish. Nicole’s recipe is fantastic. Lauren Bacall rather than Sophia Loren, LOL!! great analogy.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..The Challenge: A Cookout Crate for Man Crates!My Profile

  12. Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm August 25, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    I love your writing. It was a great way to describe your sauce and I enjoyed it. Happy Reveal Day
    Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm recently posted..Secret Recipe Club-Blueberry MargaritasMy Profile

  13. Melissa August 25, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Vodka sauce is so delicious. I love your analogies, too! Excellent pick this month ;)

  14. Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel August 25, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Looks awesome! I love recipes with simple, fresh ingredients. Great pick!
    Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel recently posted..SRC: Buffalo Chicken Shepherd’s PieMy Profile

  15. Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere August 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Your pasta looks fabulous! Great pick!
    Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere recently posted..Asian Spiced Ribs (Smoked On the Grill) with #MyPicknSaveMy Profile

  16. Emily @ Life on Food August 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Funny I haven’t had Vodka pasta either. After seeing this though I want to get on it right away. Happy Reveal Day!!
    Emily @ Life on Food recently posted..Cinnamon and Sugar Almonds {SRC}My Profile

  17. nicole August 25, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Thanks for cooking in my kitchen this month! The recipe looks like it turned out great!!!

  18. Oui, Chef August 26, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    With an ingredient list like this, what’s not to love!
    Oui, Chef recently posted..Tomato and Basil TartMy Profile

  19. mjskit August 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    I’m so glad that you chose this pasta to try! I’ve heard of it, but have never had it before and wanted to make it. I have some wonderful fresh tomatoes, so I can’t wait to use them in this. It looks delightful!
    mjskit recently posted..Green Chile Crab Cakes with Horseradish SauceMy Profile

  20. cheri August 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Hi Susan, love everything about this dish, have never cooked with vodka before, I guess it’s about time. lovely pictures!!
    cheri recently posted..Tricolor Summer Salad and The Yachats River Valley Farm TourMy Profile

  21. Kirstin August 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    YUM! Good and simple.
    Kirstin recently posted..Family Recipe: Sour Cream Coffee CakeMy Profile

  22. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious August 28, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Oh my is that pretty. I always did prefer Lauren Bacall over Sophia Loren.
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious recently posted..Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Pine Nut, Lime Vinaigrette Salad from Restaurant LemonadeMy Profile

  23. Maureen August 29, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    I have a recipe similar to this and I adore it. I want to try your recipe too. It looks so good!

  24. Pure Grace Farms August 29, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    You had me with Vodka! :) Looks like a lovely sauce, I look forward to trying this one. Already thinking about how I can put some away with all the tomatoes I have in the garden. May have to experiment and do a little canning. Thank you for sharing,
    Blessings,
    Shari
    Pure Grace Farms recently posted..Foodie Fridays Link-Up Party Where Every Link Gets Pinned!My Profile

  25. Pure Grace Farms August 29, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    If you haven’t already would love for you to come by and link up your fabulous sauce at Foodie Fridays.
    Thanks, Shari
    http://puregracefarms.com/2014/08/foodie-fridays-link-up-party-10/
    Pure Grace Farms recently posted..Foodie Fridays Link-Up Party Where Every Link Gets Pinned!My Profile

  26. Kate September 1, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Great SRC selection! I love Pasta with Vodka Sauce….yummy. I need to give this recipe a try. Visiting from Group B.

  27. Pure Grace Farms September 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    Stopping in to let you know I have featured your post on Foodie Fridays starting Thursday Evening at 9pm EST. Stop by and say hello and link up another fabulous post!
    Blessings,
    Shari
    http://puregracefarms.com/?p=7884
    Pure Grace Farms recently posted..Preserve the Harvest Series: Spiced Ginger Pear ButterMy Profile

  28. Traci | Vanilla And Bean September 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Hi Susan! What a fabulous combination of flavors! Cream, vodka and tomatoes… whats not to love! Thank you for sharing this recipe and mouthwatering photos!

    Hope to see you at the IFBC!
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean recently posted..Roasted Corn Zucchini Fritters with Chipotle Lime CreamMy Profile

  29. Mary @ Fit and Fed September 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Very cool! I’ve only ever had the vodka pasta sauce from Trader Joe’s, I’ve never tried to make my own. I love using liquors in my cooking both for main dishes and desserts. I haven’t been exactly sure what the vodka adds to the pasta sauce since it has so little flavor on its own, but I’m sure that whatever it does add you’d notice more in a homemade sauce than a commercial one.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Maialina Pizzeria– and the Empty NestMy Profile

  30. Carrie Pacini September 16, 2014 at 5:11 am #

    Your Pasta alla Vodka looks wonderful.

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