Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce


I’m going out on a limb here by saying I don’t like vodka, so the idea of vodka sauce never really appealed to me. I couldn’t imagine it tasting good with pasta.  A few days ago, my friend Karen brought some really yummy spinach and cheese stuffed gnocchi with vodka sauce for her lunch. Of course I tried it and thought it was delicious.  I was thinking about trying a new recipe for dinner this week and decided to give the vodka sauce a try.  I searched for a few recipes online and ended up using one from cooks.com. I changed a few things as I went along and kept my fingers crossed.  It was a very simple recipe and tasted really, really good.



  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I skipped this, but may try it next time)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound prosciutto, chopped (I used 4 thin slices of pancetta instead)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. In a small bowl, combine vodka and red pepper flakes. Set aside for 1 hour.(see note above)
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Saute pancetta, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper until pancetta is evenly browned.DSC_0394DSC_0395
  4. Pour in vodka mixture, and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, and stir in with 2 cans of tomato sauce, parsley and basil.
  6. Simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and cook 2 minutes.


My Notes:
1 cup of vodka seemed like a lot, so I cut it back to 3/4 cup.  After tasting the sauce, I will try it with the recommended 1 cup next time.  Zoe was eating with us tonight, so I did not add the crushed pepper flakes.  Jose and Jason both said they’d like it with a bit of heat, so I may add them to the vodka next time, like the recipe states. I did not have prosciutto so I used thinly sliced pancetta instead. Next time, I’ll use a chunk so I can dice it better, but it worked out ok. I did not add the 1 cup of water because the sauce would have been too runny.  I recommend keeping it handy just in case the sauce needs to be thinned out.  Also, I am not sure 2 cans of tomato sauce are needed. I’m not even sure one is.  I would cut back to one can, and then try it with out any and see if it makes a difference.  Finally, in my photo you see half and half.  After I took the photo, I realized I had heavy cream in the fridge so I DID use that as the recipe stated.


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2 Responses to Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

  1. Wow, that looks awesome. Now I’m hungry.

  2. Chris says:

    Kim, you could make this and be a rock star at your house. It’s really simple. Try it! Try it! Try it! Now I’m a home cook peer pressure-er.

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