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Silky Spicy Vodka Sauce Pasta

There's just something about a silky vodka sauce, clinging to each and every noodle, making that (ahem) "macaroni in a pot" sound, that makes guests flip their lids. This is one of my go-to recipes for an impressive meal that takes very little effort. I bought the special pasta and tomato paste from the Bella Italia shop on Plumb, and the high-quality pasta takes this dish to another level.

Silky Spicy Vodka Sauce Pasta

Serves 2-3 generously


  • 4 tbsps butter or olive oil

  • ½ lb dried pasta (I used Lumache)

  • ½ of a large yellow onion, diced very small

  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or grated

  • 1-2 tsp chili flakes (depending on spice tolerance)

  • 6 tbsps of high-quality tomato paste (about ¾ of a 4.5oz tube)

  • ½ cup of vodka

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup of grated parmesan (freshly grated is always best)


  1. For the pasta: add water to a medium pot, salt like the sea, and set to boil.

  2. Set a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add butter/oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot.

  3. Add onion to pot and cook until translucent but not brown.

  4. Is your water boiling? If so, toss in your dried pasta.

  5. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for about 2 minutes until softened and aromas are released.

  6. Add tomato paste and stir all ingredients until combined, cooking gently so that the flavors meld together without over-cooking.

  7. Pour in vodka to help release any stuck-on bits. Let the vodka gently reduce, about 2 mins.

  8. Reduce heat to low and add in the heavy cream. Stir everything together.

  9. Using a ladle with holes or a spider, transfer cooked pasta (according to package instructions, it should be pretty al dente at this point) to your sauce.

  10. Add in the ½ cup of parmesan cheese.

  11. Stir everything together and let pasta continue cooking in the sauce for another 2 mins or until it is perfectly al dente.

  12. If the sauce is really thick, add pasta water until it is silky perfection.

  13. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with more parmesan and serve immediately.


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