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Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

I was amazed to realize that I’ve never cooked this. Such a classic, old school sauce and in all of these years, this was my first time making vodka sauce! It’s really good and easy. The vodka cooks off and there’s so little here that even kids can safely enjoy this meal, if you were wondering.

Ingredients

  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 12 cup Tomato Paste
  • 12 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Vodka
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 12 pound Broccoli
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 pound Rigatoni Pasta (or other shape such as penne or orecchiette)
  • 12 cup Heavy Cream
  • 12 cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated, divided)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL

    Salt it generously so it tastes like the ocean.

  • 2. SHALLOT + GARLIC

    Mince both the shallot and garlic.

  • 3. SAUTÉ

    In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 ½ Tablespoons of butter. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

    Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until paste has coated shallots and garlic and is beginning to darken, 5 minutes.

  • 4. VODKA

    Add vodka to pot and stir to incorporate, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Turn off heat.

  • 5. STEAM VEGGIES

    Chop the cauliflower, broccoli and carrot. Set up in a steamer basket and steam for about 6 minutes or until tender. Toss with remaining butter and a pinch of salt to taste.

  • 6. COOK PASTA

    Boil pasta until al dente; follow the package instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining.

  • 7. FINISH

    Return sauce to medium heat and add ¼ cup pasta water and heavy cream, stirring to combine. Add ½ the parmesan and stir until melted. Turn off heat and stir in cooked pasta. Fold in remaining parmesan, adding more pasta water (about a Tablespoon at a time) if the sauce is looking dry. Season with salt if needed.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve with more parmesan on top to taste and steamed veggies on the side.

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Substitutions

  • GLUTEN FREE:
    use your favorite GF pasta
  • DAIRY FREE:
    omit butter and use oil, omit cheese at the end
  • COW DAIRY FREE:
    use olive oil for butter and pecorino romano which is sheep instead of parmesan
  • VODKA FREE:
    you can omit the vodka and use a little bit of water and lemon juice, or a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • VEGGIES:
    this is a nice looking medley but you can serve whatever makes sense on the side

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Totally safe for kids or make the substitutions. Much to my eternal embarrassment, my kids won’t eat red sauce (the horror!) so I just scoop theirs out and toss with butter and make them eat double vegetables - look away!

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

Make it all ahead if you like but it’s really super delicious fresh out of the pan

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