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  • Writer's picturehungryhungryhayden

Pasta alla Vodka

This recipe is only a La Croix (or your favorite vodka mixer) away from dinner and drinks.


Pasta- short tube shaped noodles work best for this method and sauce. Use however much you deem one serving (a Hayden serving is probably more than your definition of a serving). I won’t tell you if you use gluten free pasta, or any other pasta substitute, I promise.

Onion, finely diced- 1 will probably do, but use your discretion. If you have an enormous onion use ½ or ¾. Whereas if your cooking an egregious amount of pasta, use 2 onions.

Olive oil and/or Butter- whatever makes you more comfortable. Enough to caramelize the onion, garlic, and tomato paste

Garlic- your cooking it out, so measure with your heart

Tomato paste, standard 5.5oz can- forgo your reservations on using canned tomato products

Vodka- just enough to completely deglaze the pan. After all, there's other uses for vodka

Heavy cream- enough to give the sauce a lovely blush color.

Parmesan- 1 small hunk, grated, or if using a blender or food processor, just throw it in. But make sure there’s extra for snacking and for garnishing.

Black Pepper- to taste

Italian herbs- basil, oregano, basil, etc. fresh or dried. It fresh, save some for garnish


1. Start with a cold sauté pan. Add olive oil and or butter, onion, tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and spices. Place over medium low heat until caramelized completely and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. This will take longer than you think so plan on like 40 minutes. If during this process it starts to look dry, add a splash of water to deglaze it a little and lower the temperature.

2. While aromatics are caramelizing, boil a large pot of salted water and cook your pasta of choice to al dente.

3. Deglaze caramelization with vodka. Scrape all of the browned bits off the bottom. When I say all of the browned bits, I mean all of them.

4. Add enough cream to make the sauce a pretty orange-red-pink color. And add as much parm as you’re comfortable with.

5. Drain (always reserve the pasta water) and add the pasta to the sauce. Adjusting the consistency with the reserved pasta water.

6. Serve garnished with fresh herbs and or parmesan cheese

Substitutions and Additions:

1. Onion- shallot is a good alternative

2. Tomato paste- any canned tomato product will do. The more water in it, the longer everything will take to caramelize

3. Olive oil and/or butter- there’s just no good substitute for olive oil and/or butter.

4. Garlic- there's no good substitution for garlic, but you can omit it if you're a heathen

5. Vodka- it’s pasta alla vodka, dude. You’d have to change the name if you substitute this.

6. Parmesan- any hard Italian cheese will do. Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Asiago, etc.

7. Heavy cream- any non fermented dairy or unflavored dairy substitute. Milk, half & half, almond milk, oat milk, goat milk are all solid choices.

8. Italian sausage/meatballs- sear and cook through in the saute pan, and remove before caramelizing the aromatics. Reheat and serve on top of the dressed pasta.

Alternate Techniques & Variations:

There's a thousand ways to do pasta, so I’ll post recipes as I write them. and link them here.

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