Maccheroni alla Vodka {Macaroni w/Vodka}


So you like things a little Piccante? Well then this dish is perfect for you! It’s just the right amount of spiciness without being so overwhelming that it sets your mouth completely on fire. It definitely has a kick to it.

You might be thinking Macaroni with Vodka, really Paula? YES, really! It’s good, anzi, it’s better than good. E’ semplicemente delizioso! Sorry, sometimes I go in & out of Italian without even knowing it – tee hee.


You’ll need to think about this dish a bit before cooking it, as you have to infuse the Vodka with the chili peppers. Amazing how much flavor this step gives to the sauce. & well here’s a little secret. It you don’t have any chili peppers on hand, I have been known to put a good handful of chili pepper flakes into the Vodka and let it stew for about 1/2 of the time – but make sure to DRAIN all of the pepper flakes out before putting it into the sauce, well that is unless you happen to like having your mouth on fire. The Vodka will have this beautiful pale red hue to it, but resist the temptation to drink it. Well unless you want to put a little hair on your chest, as my Grandaddy would always say LOL.

Have you noticed that the dishes aren’t DRIPPING in sauce? Well they’re not supposed to be. Italians marry their pasta & sauces together. To create a balance, the perfect marriage between the two, if you will. It’s not pasta with ladle’s full of sauce on top. Nope, they’re lovingly mixed to together to become one cohesive (ooh love that word) dish . Just thought I’d share that with ya! Yeah, it’s kinda a pet peeve of mine. Almost as bad as calling the sauce “gravy”, don’t even get me started on that one LOL!



What you’ll need:
500g or a little more than a 1lb box – of a short pasta (ie: Rigatoni, Penne)
4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion – diced
1 794g or 1lb 12 oz can of Italian Whole Tomatoes
4 small red chili peppers
1 cup of vodka
4-5 tbsp of Grana Padano – grated

What to do:
Place the vodka into a glass and add the chili peppers. Allow to marinate  for approx 2 hours.

Add your oil to a large saute pan & heat over med-high heat. When oil is hot add your onions & cook until translucent. When translucent add your canned tomatoes & crush with your wooden spoon. Season well with salt. Lower heat a smidge & let the sauce reduce for approx 10 mins. WHILE tomatoes/onions are cooking put on a large pot of water over high heat, seasoned well with salt to boil. When it boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente. When tomatoes have finished cooking, remove the peppers from the vodka & discard. Add the vodka to the sauce, lower the heat and allow the vodka to cook & evaporate for approx 10 mins. Drain your pasta, add the grated cheese to pasta. Stir. & then add the pasta into the sauce mixture. Stir well & serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

If you liked this, you might like:

Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce


  1. 1

    Yum! I’m wondering though, I don’t have any chili’s at home, would this work with crushed red pepper instead?

    • 1.1

      Thanks Britt! Yes, absolutely. I’ve used pepper flakes before: JUST be sure to drain them before you add the Vodka to sauce & they won’t need near as long to marinate.

  2. 2

    Yum! Looks like a wonderful dish! I love a little spice, and vodka can’t hurt, right?

  3. 3

    Soju would work too. In California, it’s easier to find since it’s legally classified as a wine rather than a hard liquor!

  4. 4

    I keep want to start this comment with ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘great’ but none of these seems strong enough, or appropriate enough for what you just posted.Just fantastic and mindblowing blog keep it up..!!!

  5. 5

    How I love a great pasta dish. This looks fantastic. I can’t wait to give it a try in my tiny kitchen! LOL! I want as many yummy one pot meals as I can get…

    • 5.1

      Ciao Miranda! I’m a HUGE fan of using as little pots/pans as possible myself (being as I’m ALSO cleaning them later LOL)

  6. 6

    Paula you have quite the beautiful website going on here! The minute i saw “alla vodka” i got excited about this recipe haha!! your photographs are great keep up the good work 🙂

    • 6.1

      Ah, thanks a bunch Joy! I really appreciate that. Yes, Vodka does tend to do that ; ) Happy weekend!

  7. 7

    This looks so good. I’m with ya on not drowning pasta with sauce! Bravo!!

    • 7.1

      Thanks Diana! I had leftovers today for lunch. So good even the next day!

  8. 8

    I’ve yet to use vodka with pasta and I know I have to.:) I love spicy too.

    • 8.1

      Ciao Wendy. Yes, you simply HAVE to ; ) It’s mandatory! Chop, chop ! tee hee

  9. 9
    Rhonda /

    This doesn’t have the cream as most recipes…will give it a try too-less fattening? Love Vodka and peppers and I agree about not over saucing the pasta.

    • 9.1

      Hi Rhonda! No, no cream here, which means you can have double the portion guilt free (at least that’s what I’m sticking to!)

  10. 10

    As usual, looks incredibly decadent, my dear. 🙂

  11. 11

    I have never cooked with vodka…this sounds intriguing

  12. 12
    southernms /

    How much red pepper flakes to you add in substitution for the red chili peppers?

    • 12.1

      Hi SouthernMs! I would estimate about 1 tbsp (a little less if you don’t like it so spicy) Just remember to drain them before adding the Vodka ; )


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