Sundays = Pasta in this house. They go together like peanut butter and jelly for us. You name it, I make it, but one of my boys favorite pasta recipes (besides Alfredo) is Vodka Cream Sauce. And before you bug out about the vodka in this recipe, it cooks off so you don’t have to worry about the alcohol content. You can make this sauce with any kind of pasta really, but I find it works best with Rigatoni or Penne. My preferred pasta brands for those of you who have asked is DeCecco and Barilla. So I’ll cut the chit chat and just give you the recipe!

Vodka Rigatoni

This blush cream sauce is always a crowd pleaser and easy to make too!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta
Servings: 4 people


  • Saute Pan


  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 box rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup pasta water


  • locatelli cheese
  • fresh basil
  • fresh black pepper


  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter in olive oil.
  • Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and italian seasoning and simmer for about 20-25 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir frequently.
  • Increase heat to medium and add heavy cream and vodka. Bring to a simmer and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sauce should thicken a little bit.
  • Prepare rigatoni (or whatever pasta you're using) according to package instructions.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  • Add pasta water to the sauce and mix, then add pasta to the sauce and toss to combine.
  • Portion into bowls and garnish with a little drizzle of olive oil, locatelli cheese, fresh basil, cracked black pepper and more red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.


The point of adding the pasta water to the sauce:
The salty, starchy water not only adds flavor but helps glue the pasta and sauce together; it will also help thicken the sauce
Vodka Sauce variations:
I usually add ground sausage to my vodka sauce (seen in pic) so I will leave out the pancetta.  Most people saute pancetta with the garlic and onions in the beginning for their vodka sauce.  I’ve also seen people add green peas to their sauce.  There are so many ways to do it so experiment and have fun!

If you make this, be sure to tag me @jillianrosado so I can see! You can also find some of my meal plans HERE and all of my food posts HERE

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