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Loaded Vodka Pasta Sauce

How to make vodka pasta sauce recipe shows you the best pasta to use with alla vodka cream sauce and how to include shrimp, chicken and so much more.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword pasta, sauce, tomato sauce, vodka


  • large skillet
  • saucepan


  • ½ pound uncooked pasta of choice penne, rigatoni, bowtie, etc
  • cup onion, chopped leeks make sauce creamier, a little green only
  • 1 can (28 oz.) canned tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 tblsp tomato paste or ½ small can
  • 1-2 tblsp garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon basil, dried
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt - or more to taste
  • 2 tsp pepper or more to taste
  • ½ tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
  • 2-3 tblsp olive oil

Optional Extras

  • ½ pound ground beef, pork, sausage (no casings), or turkey
  • 6 slices bacon or pancetta chopped, about ¼ pound
  • ½ pound shrimp, defrosted and deveined (10-12 shrimp)
  • 1 -1 ½ cups rotisserie, leftover, grilled chicken, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • ½ pound raw chicken breast or chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup peppers, green, yellow, orange or red, chopped
  • parmesan cheese grated for serving if desired
  • 1 tsp sugar, if desired to reduce acidity
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for a little heat if desired
  • dashes hot sauce, if desired for heat


  • Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Sauté until soft (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally.  
  • In a blender add the whole peeled tomatoes, sauteed onion and garlic, and the spices (basil, oregano, salt).  Blend until a smooth puree. 
  • Return the blended mixture to the skillet and add the cream and vodka.  Stir.  Cook over a medium/low heat for 25 minutes stirring often. 
  • In a pot boil water.  Add ½ lb of pasta of choice (penne, rigatoni, bow ties, etc..) and cook according to instructions. 
  • Turn off heat but let sauce stay on burner.
  • Add drained pasta to the vodka sauce and serve.  Garnish with desired choice like fresh basil.  
  • Serve and enjoy every bite!

Optional Extras Method

  • Cook bacon, ham or pancetta until edges start to crisp in a large skillet. About 3 minutes.
  • Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels.
  • Use bacon fat or wipe the pan with paper towel and add olive oil and set over medium heat.
  • Crumble ground meat or raw, cut up chicken into the pan.
  • Add onions and mushrooms and cook for five minutes.
  • Add peppers and garlic and continue to cook.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • When meat is cooked add oregano, red peppers, bacon, vodka, tomato paste and diced tomatoes with juice.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.


  • Add cooked chicken while sauce is simmering.


  • Add cream and once again bring to a boil. If using shrimp, add them for last few minutes of simmering. Shrimp only take a few minutes to cook.
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Cook your pasta according to package directions. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!


You can keep the sauce separate from the pasta and add the afterwards if you desire.  That way if you have leftovers the pasta will not get to soft being in the sauce overnight. 
You can play with different types of pastas like linguini, but the more common types are penne, rigatoni, and bowties.
For a quicker version you can substitute jarred marinara sauce if you wish.  You would cook for less time as the marinara is already cooked. 
You can store remaining sauce and pasta in a refrigerator for 3-4 days.