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Rocco's Pasta alla Vodka

Patricia Reitz

ButterYum - pasta alla vodka sauce. how to make non-alcohol vodka sauce. can I make pasta penne a la vodka without vodka? pasta penne ala vodka sauce recipe.

This pasta alla vodka recipe, adapted form a chef Rocco Dispirito, might take you by surprise when you realize it’s missing one very important ingredient…. the vodka! Rocco explains vodka contains a lot of calories, but not a lot of flavor. Alcohol, however, is one of 3 flavor carriers (along with water and fat), but its absence is replaced by the the addition of heavy cream, which not only adds a bit of luxury, but it rounds out the flavors beautifully.

Items used to make this recipe:

Rocco’s Pasta alla Vodka

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 8 ounces your favorite shape pasta

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (try my quick marinara or san marzano sauce)

  • 3/4 cup jarred fire-roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


  1. In a 6-quart stockpot, bring 8 cups of water and 1/2 ounce (15 grams or 2 1/2 teaspoons) Morton’s Kosher salt to a boil; add pasta and continue to boil until al dente, stirring occasionally.

  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes for 1 minute, then add sauce, chopped fire-roasted peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.

  3. Stir in cream, cheese, and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat, stir in fresh basil, and serve immediately.

adapted from Rocco DeSpirito Now Eat This