• Jeremy Scheck

Spicy Rigatoni with Vodka

As featured on BuzzFeed!

Suggested adaptations: use shallot instead of onion; finely mince your garlic and leave it in your final sauce; add fresh basil instead of parsley

Ingredients (for 4-5 servings):

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

  • Dried oregano, to taste

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled

  • 1 (4.5 oz) tube of tomato paste

  • 1/3 cup vodka

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 lb rigatoni or penne pasta

  • Generous salt for pasta water

  • Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (at least a 1/2 cup)

  • Chopped fresh parsley to taste


  1. Heat a large pot of water to cook your pasta. While it heats, start making the sauce.

  2. Cook your onion with the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until translucent and slightly golden. Add red pepper flakes and oregano and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add in the garlic.

  3. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook over medium heat for 2-3 more minutes. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.

  4. Add the vodka; let it simmer briefly before adding the heavy cream. Turn off the heat once the cream simmers for a minute. Use a spoon to remove the garlic cloves that have now infused the sauce.

  5. Salt the pasta water once it's boiling and add in your rigatoni. Cook a minute less than the lower number on the package. Use a mug to reserve at least a half cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.

  6. Mix the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce, along with a splash of pasta water and a generous amount of parmigiano reggiano. Return the pan to heat, and let the pasta simmer in the sauce for the last minute of its cook time. Add the parsley and enjoy.