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Easy Creamy Vodka Sauce with Rigatoni

The perfect not-so-fancy but still a little fancy weeknight dinner of your dreams featuring vodka, pasta, and cheese.
Posted November 4, 2019 by Stephanie
Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy

Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you.

But let’s back up a bit. Just what exactly is vodka sauce? It’s pink, it’s pretty, and yes, it does have vodka in it. It’s little bit retro (it was super popular in the 80s) and something you almost always see at classic old school Italian American pasta places. Vodka sauce is Italian American food at it’s best: a smooth and creamy tomato based sauce. It’s rich and luscious with a sharp bright flavor, and is one of the best homemade pasta sauces you could ever learn to make.

I’m a little bit obsessed with vodka sauce. Whenever I see it on a menu, I’m always, always tempted. Usually something else that’s just a little more interesting wins out, but sometimes I do end up ordering the vodka sauce and when I do, I’m never disappointed. I love that creamy, tomato-y, sweet yet bright sauce. It’s like tomato sauce but better because cream and vodka.

This is literally the best weeknight pasta dinner because it uses so few ingredients. Keep a tube of tomato paste and a carton of cream in the fridge and you’ll never go hungry. I used rigatoni because I love how the sauce goes in the holes but you can use whatever shape pasta you have on hand.

Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy

Why You Should Make Vodka Sauce:

  • It makes the perfect weeknight pasta dinner.
  • It’s a 6 ingredient sauce.
  • It’s high reward for low effort.
  • You have an excuse to drink vodka.
  • It’s delicious!

FAQ:
Q: I don’t drink. Does it need to have vodka in it?
A: Technically, no. It doesn’t need vodka sauce in it. The vodka adds a touch of heat and bit of bite that balances the sweetness of the tomatoes and cream, but it isn’t a necessary ingredient. Still, if you don’t have vodka in it, it would technically just be a very delicious rose sauce.

Q: I don’t want to buy one of those tiny cans of tomato paste just for this recipe, what can I do instead?
A: Buy a tube of tomato paste! It’s resealable, you keep it in the fridge, and it’s an instant umami flavor booster that you can squeeze into just about anything you want a little bit of brightness and tomato flavor in.

Happy vodka saucing!
xoxo steph

Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy

Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy

Easy Creamy Vodka Sauce

Creamy tomato-y vodka sauce: the perfect not-so-fancy but still a little fancy weeknight dinner of your dreams

Serves 2
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 oz rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vodka
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

  • fresh basil
  • burrata

Instructions

  • Cook the rigatoni 1-2 minutes shy of al dente in a large pot of salted water over high heat. Save 3/4 cup pasta water and drain well. The rigatoni will continue to cook in the sauce.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a sauté or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, 1-2 minutes.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook until slightly caramelized.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • Stir in the vodka and simmer until slightly reduced.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • Add in the cream and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • When slightly thick, add the cooked pasta. Cook, stirring, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is velvety and clings to the pasta, 1-2 minutes. Season to taste.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy
  • Enjoy with fresh basil and burrata, if using.

    Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy

6 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    Tomato paste/amount is not mentioned in ingredients list.

    1. Stephanie says:

      oops! updated, it’s 2 tbsp :)

  2. Rachel says:

    You’ve missed the tomato paste on the ingredients list – how much should we use?

    1. Stephanie says:

      fixed it! it’s 2 tbsp!

  3. BakaryCafe says:

    I presume the 3/4 saved pasta water goes in when we add the pasta to the sauce?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      you’re just saving it in case the sauce gets too thick – there should be enough cream/vodka to cook the pasta, but if the sauce starts to get too goopy, add it in, a tablespoon at a time. thanks for catching that!

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Do you love noodles? Do you love recipes that use 6 ingredients or less? Do you love vodka?! If the answer was yes to any of those questions, this vodka sauce with rigatoni is for you. #vodka #vodkasauce #pasta #rigatoni #dinner #recipes #easy