Comfort food is key when dealing with some of the stuff life throws our way. Even better when the food has easy to find ingredients and doesn’t take all day to make! Gigi Hadid shared a great Spicy Vodka Pasta on her Instagram, and it’s definitely comfort food. Rich and creamy with a great spicy tomato-y flavor, smothering a plate of carb-y pasta. This hits many of the qualifications for comfort food. Her recipe is broken down into simple steps and is a great recipe for a newer cook to give a try or a seasoned one to throw together easily.
Here is Gigi Hadid’s spicy vodka pasta recipe, along with some tips to help perfect the process!
Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Vodka Pasta Recipe
- 8 oz shells pasta, (we used penne for ours)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ shallot, diced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- fresh basil leaves, chopped, to serve
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and shallot / onion. Stirring occasionally, cook until the shallots are softened and caramelized.
- Add tomato paste, seasoned with salt and pepper. Let the tomato paste cook in the oil until it goes from bright red color to a deep brick color (about 2 minutes).
- Add the vodka and wait 1-2 minutes to ensure the alcohol evaporates. While waiting for it to evaporate, you can also deglaze the pan with the vodka. Deglazing involves using liquid to loosen up any food particles that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. You can scrape these particles with a spoon or spatula which will yield a more flavorful sauce. (Please see notes for vodka substitution)
- Add in the heavy cream and red chili flakes. If people have different heat tolerance levels, the red chili flakes can be added and tailored to each individual serving at the end.
- Continue stirring sauce until thoroughly combined, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta and drain 1 minute before the time indicated on the package instructions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- Over medium heat, carefully pour the pasta into the vodka saucepan, along with the butter. Make sure the butter fully melts and give the pasta a good stir.
- Add the reserved pasta water in a little bit at a time until it’s a good consistency. The goal is to loosen the sauce a bit so it can easily coat the pasta, but not too much that it gets watery.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate each serving then add basil and more cheese to make it extra fancy!
1. Use Shallots
The recipe calls for shallots which are a cross between garlic and onion and add great flavor. Sometimes shallots can be hard to come by and if you cannot find them, then yellow or white onions will work in a pinch. Slice them thin, or even dice them depending on preference. Whichever you use, make sure that you cook them until they are translucent, but not too browned.
2. Use Tomato Paste from a Tube
Tomato paste comes in both a can and a tube. This recipe requires ¼ of a cup, and so instead of opening a can and having leftover paste, we recommend using the kind that comes in a tube. It’s the same reduced tomato sauce, but you can cap it and put it back in the fridge for later use. Tomato paste is a bright red once coming out of a can or a tube and you will want to cook this until it ‘toasts’ and turns a more reddish-brown color. The brownish hue means it has caramelized and all the flavor and a bit of sweetness will come out in the sauce.
3. Vodka Alternatives
You will need just 1 Tablespoon of vodka for this recipe. If you don’t have vodka, other alcohol can be used in a pinch such as white wine or cooking sherry. If using alcohol, you will want to cook the sauce until it burns off a bit. If you prefer not to use any alcohol, you could leave it out completely or use a tablespoon of chicken stock.
4. Use Heavy Cream – Not Half and Half
This is a creamy sauce that calls for a ½ cup of heavy cream – don’t use half and half as it has a tendency to curdle when mixed with tomatoes in your sauce. If you want to make this dish vegan, you can combine unsweetened/unflavored almond milk with 2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk to get a similar consistency to the heavy cream.
5. Chili Flakes are a Must
The recipe is called Spicy Vodka Pasta and there is 1 teaspoon of chili flakes in the ingredients. If you wanted just regular vodka sauce, you could leave out the chili flakes, but we recommend using at least a pinch if you can’t handle all of the spice. It really does add to the flavor of the dish.
6. Pasta Water Tips
When cooking your pasta, a few things: The less water you use to cook the pasta, the more starchy it becomes. So the thicker you want your sauce, the less water you want to cook your pasta in. The recipe calls for ¼ cup of the pasta water, but we recommend reserving a ½ cup and just slowly add it as you mix together your pasta and sauce. Once you drain it all, you can’t get it back so it’s better to have extras on hand.
7. Butter and Alternatives
Butter makes everything better and in this case, it sure does the trick. You will add the tablespoon of butter once all the ingredients are combined. It will help to pull your sauce together and also give it that pretty glossy sheen. For a vegan version, there is a buttery flavored coconut butter that would be great or just regular coconut oil would work too.
8. Season and Salt Your Pasta
Don’t be afraid to season your pasta. Always taste your pasta once it’s all pulled together to check on the seasoning. You can still add salt, pepper, or more chili flakes at the end of the preparation if it needs it. If you prefer something spicier than your guest, you can always throw extra chili on top of your own plate!
9. Final Touches
The recipe recommends topping the pasta with parmesan cheese and chopped basil but you can leave them off or change out the ingredients too. The spicy vodka sauce is a great way to make some tasty pasta for two. If you add your favorite mix-ins: for example, leafy greens (such as spinach or kale) would be great for vegetarians or vegans. Or even proteins such as shrimp or chicken – you can elevate this dish even more or change it up so you can serve it more often!
We fell in love with this recipe but found that these helpful tips will ensure a perfect outcome every time. Hope you enjoyed this!
If you liked this post, we also think you’ll like our Jon and Vinny’s Spicy Fusilli Recipe post.