Seared Scallop Pasta recipe with Lemon and Vodka
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Pasta alla vodka is a classically delicious dish, and it only takes a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. These are some of our favorite versions of pasta with vodka sauce, including a vegan pasta alla vodka that happens to be great for omnivores who are all out of heavy cream.

A sauce of canned tomatoes tempered with cream is a no brainer for pasta of any shape. This recipe, however, which became popular in the 1960s, adds a healthy slug of vodka to the mix. The alcohol doesn’t survive the deglazing and cooking, so don’t worry—your kids (and you) won’t feel tipsy. But it does add some of the richness and complexity that any spirit (brandy, for instance) brings to many dishes.

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These cozy, comforting pastas with vodka sauce are pantry-friendly and perfect for celebrating an ideal marriage of pasta ingredients.

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1. Seared Scallops with Lemon and Vodka

Seared Scallop Pasta recipe with Lemon and Vodka

Chowhound

Deglazing the pan you sautéed scallops in with vodka is a bold and beautiful way to get maximum flavor. Lemon, cream, and a whole lot of tarragon finish a delicate dish that’s delicious as is or tossed with pasta. Get our Seared Scallops with Lemon and Vodka recipe.

2. Linguine with Clams and Chorizo

Clam Chorizo Pasta recipe

Chowhound

For a fun twist that’s not quite as costly as steak and scampi, pair spicy Mexican chorizo and clams, serve it tossed with pasta, and consider it surf ’n’ turf for the weeknight schedule. The vodka adds warmth and character. Get our Linguine with Clams and Chorizo recipe.

3. Penne alla Vodka Sauce

The classic creamy penne dish with just the right balance of tomatoes and cheese. Feel free to add wilted spinach, cooked chicken, or whatever else you like. Get the Penne alla Vodka recipe.

4. Easy Pantry Pasta alla Vodka

easy pantry pasta alla vodka

Anna Gass

This version swaps in a tube of tomato paste for the canned whole tomatoes, and adds pancetta to the mix (but bacon works just as well). The sauce clings beautifully to any pasta shape from fusilli to penne. Get the Easy Pantry Pasta alla Vodka recipe.

5. Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Yes, you can even cook pasta in your pressure cooker. Add a creamy vodka sauce and tender shrimp and it’s a fast, fancy, filling meal for any occasion, from date night to any given Sunday evening. Get the Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta with Vodka Sauce recipe.

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6. Chicken Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

Proof that vodka sauce works with all pasta shapes—and all manner of mix-ins—this rigatoni brings ground chicken and Italian seasoning to the party, plus fresh basil leaves for a fragrant finish. Get the Chicken Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce recipe.

7. Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Vodka Sauce

Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Vodka Sauce recipe

Chowhound

Scraping up the pan residue with vodka adds deepened flavor here, in this spicy, oregano-scented pasta dish. The results aren’t boozy—what you get is a tomato-y sauce with a kick! Get our Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Vodka Sauce recipe.

8. Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage

Spaghetti is a gentle twist on the classic penne in this recipe. What’s more, the addition of Italian sausage bulks it up and adds even more flavor. (But if you’re up for something lighter, ditch the meat and replace the heavy cream with ricotta, a less caloric alternative.) Get the Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage recipe.

9. 5-Ingredient Vegan Pasta alla Vodka

Using coconut milk in place of the usual heavy cream makes pasta alla vodka vegan-friendly—and is also a fantastic option when you have all the ingredients you need except the dairy. Mark this down as yet another great reason to keep canned coconut milk in the pantry at all times. Get the 5-Ingredient Vegan Pasta alla Vodka recipe.

If you’re gluten-free, good news: So is most vodka—so feel free to adapt these recipes to use GF pasta. And check out our helpful tips on cooking gluten-free pasta the right way.

The Science Behind It

Why Is There Vodka in Vodka Sauce?

Header image by Chowhound.

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