Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 pound rigatoni pasta

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 

1 shallot, finely minced 

2 cloves garlic, finely minced 

1/2 cup tomato paste 

1 tablespoon Calabrian chile paste 

1/4 cup vodka 

1 cup heavy cream 

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

Fresh basil, for topping 


  1. Add the pasta to a large pot of heavily salted boiling water. Cook according to the package instructions.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic. Continue to cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and chile paste and cook until the tomato paste begins to caramelize and slightly stick to the pot, 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the vodka, releasing all the flavorful bits from the bottom. Continue to cook for 1 more minute. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later use, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta directly to the pot of sauce and toss to combine. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Continue to mix, slowly adding more pasta water as needed a splash at a time, until the desired sauce consistency is achieved. (Discard any remaining pasta water.) Top with fresh basil and more cheese.  
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