There are some dishes that are definitely better in a restaurant. Whether there’s an ingredient you can’t figure out, or you just don’t want to put the effort in, sometimes it’s totally worth it to pay a professional to do it right. But vodka sauce? Nah, Vodka Sauce is better homemade. Trust me 😉
I actually shot and posted this pasta recipe back in 2013, so when I decided to make it for our Game of Thrones Finale viewing party, I figured it was time for an update! I’ve always loved when my Mom would make vodka sauce – since long before I ever tasted vodka on it’s own. I mean, who can resist a creamy tomato sauce with onions, prosciutto, and parmesan cheese? Sign ME UP!
But why vodka?
If you’ve never had vodka sauce, you might think I’m totally crazy… so let me explain! Obviously, adding a large amount of vodka to a tomato sauce and then eating it right away is going to taste like… well, vodka. But if you slowly simmer the sauce, only small traces of alcohol will remain (about 5%). And that amount can actually changes the taste of the tomato sauce by releasing new flavors that were otherwise hidden in those little tomatoes. Pretty cool, right?
Vodka Sauce Recipe
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 thin slices of prosciutto, chopped
28 oz can tomatoes
1/2 cups vodka
1 lb rigatoni
1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream, heavy cream, or half and half
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.. Add chopped onion. Saute for about 3 minutes.
Roughly chop the prosciutto and mince the garlic. Add both to the onions. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Add the can of tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the vodka. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the alcohol cooks off. While that is simmering, boil water and cook your pasta according to package instructions.
Add the cream and cook for a few more minutes. I like to start with only 1/4 cup, because you can always add more! It should be a subtle pink color.
Add parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Stir to combine.
Drain your cooked pasta. I don’t usually need any reserved pasta water, but if you like a thinner sauce, you could reserve some just in case!
Serve pasta with additional basil and parmesan cheese!
*If you like spicy food, this recipe is also good with a little heat! Just add crushed red pepper flakes and cook for a minute or two before adding the cream.