This recipe for vodka sauce is super easy and delivers a smooth, silky tomato sauce. Simple perfection served with spaghetti and Parmesan.
Table of Contents
- Olive oil. Butter can be used as substitute.
- Chilli flakes. Red pepper flakes.
- Vodka. The vodka adds a sharp brightness to the sauce but is not essential. You can use water or stock too.
- Canned tomatoes. Adding a tablespoon or two of tomato paste will intensify the flavor but this is optional.
- Fresh basil.
- Cream. Heavy cream or whipping cream.
- Salt and black pepper.
- Pasta, of your choice. Penne, Fusilli, Spaghetti, etc. Penne alla vodka is a classic version of this dish as the pasta shape’s ridges hold the sauce perfectly but really, any pasta shape will work.
- Parmesan cheese.
How to make vodka sauce
- Make the sauce: In a large skillet or pan set over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and fragrant for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in the vodka. Bring to a boil then allow to reduce for 5 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off. Pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Blend: Transfer the tomato sauce to a blender or food processor. You can use an immersion blender too. Add the fresh basil then blend until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan and set over medium heat. Add the cream and stir in. Simmer for another 5 minutes then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Toss the sauce with al dente pasta and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water then serve topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Serving suggestions: Vodka sauce is a delicious sauce to serve with pasta, as I’ve mentioned, but it’s also delicious when you add seared chicken, shrimp or vegetables like zucchini, broccoli or spinach.
Can you freeze vodka sauce?
Yes, vodka sauce freezes well. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature then transfer to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a pan with a splash of water or stock. Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Easy pasta sauce recipes
Easy Vodka Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ cup vodka
- 800 g (28oz) canned tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, gently crush them before adding to the sauce)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼-½ cup cream
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 500 g (1lb) pasta of your choice
- In a large, deep pan set over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and fragrant for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Pour in the vodka. Allow to reduce for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Transfer the tomato sauce to a blender or food processor. Add the fresh basil then blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce back into the pan and set over medium heat.
- Add ¼ cup of cream and stir in. If you want the sauce to be creamier, add the remaining cream. Simmer for another 5 minutes then serve with pasta of your choice.