6 Best Ina Garten Vodka Sauce Recipes To Try Today

Every celebrity or TV personality seems to have their own take on the classic penne alla vodka, or as we may recognise it in the US a pasta vodka sauce.

From Gigi Hadid, to the beloved Ina Garten, everyone has their own spin that changes the dish a little, whether that’s a different choice of alcohol, or adds spice, or a different kind of cheese. 

6 Best Ina Garten Vodka Sauce Recipes To Try Today

If you haven’t heard of the dish before and are thinking ‘what the heck?!’ then you are in for a culinary treat, as you learn new skills through these recipes.

It’s a little naughty with the addition of vodka, as well as spicy, so is a great way to impress a date or an unassuming Italian.

In today’s article we are going to have a look at Ina Garten’s (see also: Ina Garten Lentil Soup Recipes To Try Today)vodka sauce, how she makes it, and some other variations on the recipe that are worth looking into, both celebrity endorsed, from ina’s own kitchen again, or other recipes that change it up a little. 

Keep reading to find your favorite vodka sauce recipe for pasta, as well as some variations, and lots of new cooking skills you can share with family or friends through your cooking. Keep reading to learn what’s for dinner today!

1. Ina Garten’s Penne alla Vodka

Here we see the base recipe for a penne alla vodka, although you can use any dried pasta shape or fresh pasta you would like. Ina’s version uses garlic and onions, with oregano and red pepper flakes to season.

With a cup of vodka there isn’t much spiciness in the dish but the kick is there and is still very pleasant as balanced by the cup of heavy cream.

This is a great base recipe to work from, that uses cream to emulsify the dish and create a creamy coating sauce. Without the vodka, this is a classic Italian American tomato sauce that uses cream.

2. Ina Garten’s Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola 

This is a recipe that appears in Garten’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa Foolproof and is her variation on her own recipe, inspired by a dish in Nick and Toni’s in East Hampton.

A simple change in cooking technique shows how you can build extra depth of flavor into your vodka sauce in a simple and easy way, albeit a little more time consuming.

Note here that ‘Vecchia Bettola’ simply means ‘old tavern’ and refers to the technique and general approach to the dish rather than any secret ingredient.

Put simply, ‘alla Vecchia Bettola’ simply refers to a vodka sauce that has been roasted in the way that Ina describes.

Roasting the sauce in the oven for an hour and half really deepens the rich flavors into something super rich and sumptuous.

The tomatoes become quite jammy and the cream deepens to create a sauce that perfectly clings to the pasta of choice that you use (Also check out Best Ina Garten Tomato Soup Recipes).

3. Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Penne alla Vodka

The younger readers will recognize this name instantly from her Instagram stardom, but if you didn’t know, Gigi Hadid is a model and internet mogul.

Okay, she’s no Ina Garten nor anything more than a famous person who is also a home cook like everyone else, but she certainly made penne alla vodka very popular and famous, mainly as a result of her eating it. 

She released a video of her making her penne alla vodka, which was originally something she showcased on her Instagram story.

When demonstrating her recipe she actually didn;t include the vodka, which turned out to be a thinly veiled announcement of pregnancy, claiming she didn’t have any. But in this recipe, the point is to use vodka.

The recipe does riff on the ‘original’, though, as well as Ina’s base recipe. Gigi errs on the side of spice and opts to include more red pepper flake should you enjoy the spicier side of life.

But the recipe actually uses only ½ a cup of heavy cream and subs the rest for butter. Instead of oregano, basil is used for flavor.

In place of an onion, Gigi actually uses green onion and garlic, a bold choice. Perhaps importantly, her recipe uses only a tablespoon of vodka rather than a cup, finding its spice from the red pepper flakes.

4. Vegan Penne alla Vodka

One the topic of modern trends, veganism is always on the rise, and for good reason.

Those vegans who love their tomato pasta, which are many, can also enjoy this spicy, alcoholic treat as much as anyone else can, with this nifty recipe.

The good thing about vodka, which the vegans will tell you is that it’s already vegan!

This recipe turns out pretty similar to Ina’s recipe, albeit without the cream, but utilizes similar flavorings like oregano and a classic onion as well as galaric.

Interestingly it adds ¼ cup of raw cashew which is a welcome addition of protein and crunch.

The biggest change in this recipe is that it doesn;t actually include any ‘cream’ element, obviously, but the dish comes out a little less ‘creamy’ as a result.

You could potentially sub in your favored vegan cream substitute or even coconut milk for a slightly different dish, and of course top it with your favored vegan cheese, or even nutritional yeast.

5. Lasagna alla Vodka

Of course, applying vodka to a sauce is a great invention, but like any sauce it’s actually not restricted to any pasta shape.

This said, this clever clogs has realized that you can make lasagna with vodka sauce, a winner for any pasta loving spice addict – of course!

Of note here is that the recipe actually uses parsley as the herb of choice instead of your classic Italian oregano or basil, this said it does work pretty well with red pepper flakes and spice in general.

The addition of spinach is a good vibe for the health addicts in us, but adding ricotta as well as heavy cream adds an ideal cream element rather than simply heavy cream.

This is a great way to  serve a larger number of people a more substantial meal than just a tomato sauce and pasta and you can also serve it with even more veggies or salad for that necessary health kick.

6. Penne alla Vodka With Chicken

One big and obvious addition to his classic recipe is chicken (Also check out Best Ina Garten Lemon Chicken Recipes). This is a great way to get more protein in your diet but also just goes great with the recipe.

Of course, chicken is regularly used in saucy and spicy dishes as it can soak up flavor well without imparting too much flavor.

This recipe goes for a basil heavy route which suits the chicken well, and makes an indulgent recipe that is a little bit more nutritious and substantial, and a great way to impress a date.

Final Thoughts

Vodka sauce is a great invention for pasta, it helps bring spice and a little naughtiness to your classic tomato pasta recipe.

It’s great to serve for a date, or simply to easily bring a new kind of spicy flavor to your favored pasta sauces.

It’s so good it has inspired celebs around the world but Ina’s base recipe, albeit not the original recipe, is a great way to make your own riff on this Italian classic.

We hope this article has taught you some interesting and useful tips for making pasta in general, but that you might make penne alla vodka tonight, just choose your favored recipe and hit the kitchen!

Whether you are looking to impress a date, or just want a new and different pasta sauce recipe, this is a great way to spice up your pasta dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Did Vodka Pasta Come From?

While it seems like many of these recipe fads come from the deep dark corners of social media itself, vodka being used in pasta sauce is in fact a totally legitimate culinary creation.

This said, it actually isn’t a tradition that dates that far back, at least not as far as many expect. In fact, it seems vodka pasta came to be in the 80s.

Here’s what we know, Ugo Tognazzi published a cookbook in 1974 that seems to be the first use of vodka in a pasta dish.

The pasta was called ‘pasta all’infuriata’  which means ‘furious pasta’.

a riff of pasta all’arrabbiata that is very spicy, he found that adding a shot of vodka, especially polish vodka which is much stronger, made the pasta ‘formidable’.

He found that with polish vodka you could completely omit chili from the recipe.

This siad, it isn’t totally clear if this is the exact invention story.

Some say it was invented in a restaurant named ‘Dante’ in Bologna, likely some pun or joke referring to Dante’s inferno, a book about the rungs of hell, relating to the spicy nature of the dish.

While others suggest the dish was made in order to popularize vodka among Italian communities.

6 Best Ina Garten Vodka Sauce Recipes To Try Today

Recipe by Barbara HuntCourse: Cookbooks


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