Food Feature: Vodka Pasta



Vodka pasta topped with Parmesan cheese.

Hattie Conover, Executive Feature Editor

  1. Half a box of pasta of your choice
  2. Half of an onion (I personally use yellow onion but you can use Vidalia, white, or even shallots)
  3. 4 cloves of garlic
  4. ⅓ cup tomato paste
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. ¾ tsp red pepper flakes
  7. ¼ tsp of salt 
  8. 2 tbsp vodka
  9. ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  10. 1 tbsp butter
  11. ¼ cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated will melt better)
  12. ¼ cup pasta water

Vodka Pasta is the perfect pasta to serve for Valentine’s Day, whether you want to impress your valentine, or just try a delicious new recipe to share with your family. Follow the instructions written on the box of pasta, you may use whatever pasta shape you like, personally, I enjoy Farfalle. And make sure to salt the water.

  1. Dice half of an onion finely (any sized onion) 
  1. Put a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat and add tbs olive oil 
  2. While the olive oil heats mince 1-4 cloves of garlic, you can adjust this to your taste if you like more garlic you can put more or less garlic can put less
  3. Add the onion to the pan with the olive oil and ¾ tsp red pepper flakes, and stir until the onions become translucent
  4. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat
  5. Add in the ⅓ cup tomato paste and stir over heat for 3 minutes until the tomato paste covers the surface of the bottom of the pan. It will take a minute or so for the onion and garlic to mix in with the paste.
  6. Once the tomato paste sticks to the bottom of the pan lower the heat to medium or medium-low and add the 2 tbs. vodka and stir
  7. Note: The heat from the pan cooks off the alcohol in the vodka leaving a sharp bite and even a bit of heat but NO traditional effects of alcohol.
  8. Add the ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream to the tomato paste and stir the cream in until it is fully mixed into the paste.
  9. Note: You should always lower the temperature when adding milk/dairy products into a hot pan because dairy can burn rather quickly and throw off the taste of the dish.
  10. Mix in a tablespoon of butter
  11. Dip a liquid measuring cup into the pasta water and get a cup of water (you won’t use all of it just a ⅓).
  12. Note: Pasta water retains the starches from the pasta being an efficient emulsifier, thickening the sauce.
  13. Add the pasta water as needed until the sauce is your desired consistency this is also a good time to salt the sauce, again, to your preference
  14. Sprinkle parmesan cheese across the top of the sauce letting it melt and then mix it and let it melt thoroughly. Make sure you mix consistently so the cheese does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  15. Pour the sauce over the pasta and top with parmesan cheese if you would like.