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4.95 from 19 votes

Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano finely grated
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need all of it
  • 5 large basil leaves hand torn, for finishing


  • Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons salt per gallon) to boil.
  • Heat a large pan to medium-low and add the extra virgin olive oil and onions. Saute the onions until soft (about 5-7 minutes). Once soft add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes), then add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  If the paste starts to burn, add a couple of ounces of water and continue to saute. At this point, cook the rigatoni until 1 minute less than al dente.
  • Add the wine and vodka to the pan and turn the heat to high. Boil until the liquid reduces by half (about 1-2 minutes). Next, add 1 cup of pasta water and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  • Add the cream and mix thoroughly while continuing to simmer the sauce.
  • Add the 1 minute less than al dente pasta to the saucepan and stir to coat. Cook over a simmer until the pasta reaches a perfect al dente then immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the grated Pecorino and thoroughly mix or toss to combine.  If the pasta is at all dry, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water.
  • Taste test and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Tear the basil on top of the pasta and serve. Enjoy!


  • Makes 4 large servings or 6 regular-sized ones.
  • If the pasta dries out while waiting for guests to sit down, thin the sauce with a couple more ounces of the reserved pasta water.
  • Prosciutto, peas, mushrooms, and Calabrian chili paste are just a few of the many extras than can be added to change up your vodka sauce.
  • Serve with extra Pecorino Romano cheese and crushed red pepper on the side.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave.


Calories: 737kcal | Carbohydrates: 89.4g | Protein: 19.1g | Fat: 26.4g | Saturated Fat: 10.2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 4.6g | Sugar: 5.5g | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 4mg