Living in Savory, Pastas

Rigatoni with Easy Vodka Sauce

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Hi there! Happy monday. Hope you are well and everything is good in your life. Get outside today if you can…and make this rigatoni with easy vodka sauce too. 🙂 Both will make you feel really good!

There’s something about pasta right? That just makes you feel all warm inside. There’s also something about making your own pasta sauce too — then you feel warm and accomplished! Now, this rigatoni with easy vodka sauce is just that — super easy! Dinner, or lunch, or linner on the table in under 30 minutes. How good is that?

Rigatoni with easy vodka sauce in a bowl on a towel

So lets start with the tomatoes

As you are making this sauce from *scratch* it is important to use good, high quality ingredients. You deserve it.

I used canned, crushed, san marzano tomatoes. I found them at my local grocery and blended the up with about a 1/4 cup water in my blender until smooth. Now, you can use whatever kind of tomatoes you like, or have on hand for this dish. Have diced tomatoes? fantastic. Use them. Don’t have canned tomatoes? Put them on the grocery list. You can do so much with canned tomatoes at home! Aside from making this dish that is. 🙂

The next thing on the list for this sauce is tomato paste. Now for those of you who have never used tomato paste, I feel ya. It’s not something I use a *ton* well at least until my inner Italian grand-mom comes out. But it is critical to making this sauce have depth of flavor. Its so inexpensive — and keeps forever, so you may as well grab a tube (not a can!) at the store.

Lets talk about booze.

I mentioned vodka. But why vodka? What the heck is vodka doing in a pasta sauce??? Well I’m here to solve all of life’s mysteries my friends. The vodka (and there’s not that much of it, only 1/4 cup) alters the flavor of the sauce in a pleasing way. It adds a touch of heat and a bit of a sharp bite that help balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes and the cream. This is further heightened by the edition of red pepper flakes, for just that extra punch.

Rigatoni with easy vodka sauce in a bowl with a fork

Do you have to use either of these items? No. Your sauce will be tasty, it just wont be vodka sauce. 🙂

So tomatoes: check; vodka: check — lets talk…


Normally I wouldn’t be too fussed about the type of pasta that you use but this pasta dish really calls for a tube-type pasta. Something in the penne or rigatoni type. Why? Because you want to give the vodka sauce something to cling to. The sauce is relatively thin, so by adding a thicker pasta, you get a pasta that’s coated in sauce rather than sitting on top of it. Plus rigatoni is just too good. You should try it.

I also am pretty brand specific when I cook pasta. I was turned on to the brand dececco a few years back by my step mom and I haven’t looked back sense. We used to be all about barilla — and they are a good brand, don’t get me wrong, Dececco just has a bit different mouth feel and seems a bit thicker in texture. You have to give it a try if you never have before. It’ll change your pasta life. 🙂

So you’ve got your pasta, your vodka and your tomatoes, so you are ready to make this rigatoni with easy vodka sauce! Coming to a table near you in under 30 minutes.

Rigatoni with easy vodka sauce on a towel


XO Danielle

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Rigatoni with Easy Vodka Sauce

Perfect your pasta game with this rigatoni with easy vodka sauce — sure to please and crowd and on the table in 30 minutes or less!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta, vodka sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 People
Author Danielle


  • 1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oil I use walnut but canola or veg works as well
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vodka
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 lb DeCecco Rigatoni Pasta or any tube pasta you like
  • 5-6 Basil Leaves for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish


  1. In a blender, puree tomatoes and water until smooth, set aside.
  2. In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flake and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add tomato paste and stir into garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add pureed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add vodka and sugar and stir. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes over med-low heat. Stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring water to a boil (enough to cover the amount of pasta you will be cooking). Once water is at a boil, add 1-2 tsp salt and the 1lb of rigatoni. Cook according to directions on the box.
  6. Add heavy cream and salt to taste to the vodka sauce. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  7. Drain pasta, add to sauce and toss to combine.
  8. Serve with Parmesan and chopped basil to garnish.

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