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incredible vodka sauce in a white bowl with a wooden spoon

The Ultimate Smoky & Spicy Vodka Sauce for Pasta

Chelsea Kram – XO&So: Vegetarian Comfort Food
This incredible vodka sauce recipe has just the right amount of smoke and spice to make it unlike anything else you've had before! And it's quick: the ultimate vegetarian comfort food recipe can be on your table in less than half an hour.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 966 kcal


  • 12 oz fusilli or other pasta (penne and rotini are great), measured dry
  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup white onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ¾ cup tomato paste (not sauce)
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes or more for a spicier dish
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp vodka
  • 1+⅓ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • cup parmesan freshly grated, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cup reserved pasta water


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of generously salted water. Before draining, reserve 2/3 cup of the pasta water for the side. Then drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the diced onions and minced garlic until soft and fragrant, about four to five minutes.
    Add the tomato paste and stir for about 2 minutes.
    Next, add the vodka and deglaze the pan for about 3 minutes, or until the vodka evaporates.
  • Add the reserved pasta water, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer.
    Slowly add the cream, stirring until the sauce comes to a simmer again, about 4-5 minutes. Once the sauce is simmering again, turn the heat to medium low.
    Add the freshly grated parmesan and the butter. Stir and let cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce is smooth and glossy.
  • Add the cooked pasta and mix well until each noodle is coated.
    Season with more salt and pepper if desired and top with more parmesan when serving.
    Serve hot and enjoy!


Still tastes great after being refrigerated, but the sauce does thicken a bit. 


Calories: 966kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 21gFat: 61gSaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 698mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2632IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 297mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta
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