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Abt-solutely Delicious: Caterina’s Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Cat's Pasta Vodka Sauce
Caterina's Cooking Vodka Sauce

October 25th is World Pasta Day (yum)! To celebrate, the team at Abt isn’t just enjoying pasta, we’re creating it. Caterina Cosentino, our resident Instagram home chef extraordinaire, is sharing her go-to rigatoni alla vodka sauce. Perfect for lazy evenings, family meals and classed-up date nights, this creamy recipe is a perfect secret weapon. Read on to learn more from Caterina. Follow her on Instagram too: @_atoasttobutterdays. Watch the video below, and read on for Caterina’s recipe.

Rigatoni Alla Vodka Sauce


Growing up in an Italian household, pasta was a dinner staple multiple times a week. My mother was a stay-at-home mom for the majority of our childhood, so she could always make our favorites, and it didn’t really matter how much time it took. But one thing was for sure—she had dinner on the table at 5 p.m. every night, just in time for us to turn on The Simpsons.

Nowadays, a lot of us moms work, so we are always looking for those quality meals for our families that are quick, easy, and most importantly, delicious! My version of rigatoni alla vodka sauce is all things creamy, flavorful, and fast. Simple ingredients like onions, garlic, and cheese create a boost of flavor, and the pasta shape is totally customizable to your preference. Maybe your family loves classic penne, or maybe they want it with the “butterfly” pasta (as my kids call it). Regardless of what you choose, your noodles and sauce will be ready on the table in just around 30 minutes.

To make this sauce, first you will want to get some generously salted pasta water to a rolling boil. Adding salt to the water allows the pasta noodles to absorb some of that salt while cooking, further enhancing the flavor of the noodle both inside and out. You’ll need to use a bit of the salted water later on to boost the creaminess of the vodka sauce, so don’t get rid of it just yet.

Next, select a large skillet with high sides, as this is where your saucy goodness will all come together. Start by sautéing some pancetta (Italian bacon!) in the skillet on medium heat in olive oil. Stir with a spatula, and cook it until it is crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Add in your garlic and onions, and cook until you get that familiar garlic fragrance, about 2-3 minutes. I chopped our onion in the powerful KitchenAid 7-cup food processor. Add just enough vodka to cover the bottom of your skillet, and let it cook down into the pancetta, garlic, and onions until it is almost completely evaporated. Once the vodka has evaporated completely, add your tomato paste and mix until it is incorporated into your vodka-infused pancetta, onions, and garlic.

After that, it’s time to create the creamy base of your sauce with classic heavy cream. Add this to your skillet. If you like a little spiciness, I would add some red pepper flakes at this point. Then toss in some fresh ground pepper, set your burner to low, and let this cook down for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile your pasta will rest in a nice, hot Jacuzzi as it’s cooked al dente within your cookware!

Remove your penne, butterfly noodles, or other pasta from heat once it’s al-dente (about 1-2 minutes less than what the package tells you). Why? You’ll want these perfect noodles to retain some texture (and keep any potential mushiness at bay). Before straining your pasta, reserve some of that salted pasta water and add it to your simmering vodka sauce. Drain the rest of
your pasta and toss it right into the creamy mix. Finally, finish it off with cheese, basil, and butter before letting it cook until everything melts perfectly together. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does, and that it becomes a new dish on your weeknight dinner rotations!

In search of more seasonal bites? Check out our other top-rated recipes. Find the cooking accessories you need (from chopping blocks to knives) at our Gourmet Shop.


Pasta Vodka

AuthorCaterina C.
Rating

Cat's Pasta Vodka Sauce

Yields5 Servings
Total Time30 mins

 5 oz pancetta
 ¼ cup olive oil
 1.50 diced white onion
 2 minced garlic cloves
 ¼ cup vodka
 6 oz tomato paste
 3 cups heavy cream
 1 tsp salt
 12 tsp red pepper flakes (if you prefer a spicier sauce)
 ¼ tsp pepper
 pasta water (reserved from boiling). Less for a thicker sauce, more for a less thick
 1 box of rigatoni pasta
 ½ cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese
 2 tbsp fresh basil (add more for garnish)
 1 tbsp butter

1

Add pancetta to a large frying pan, heat until get somewhat crispy.

2

In the same pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until garlic is fragrant.

3

Pour vodka in and cook until almost all evaporated.

4

Add tomato paste and stir until well mixed.

5

Pour heavy cream, salt, and pepper into the pan. Optional: add red pepper flakes for a boost in spiciness. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

6

While the sauce is simmering, bring pasta water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed on box minus 1 minute for al dente. Strain, and don’t forget to reserve some pasta water!

7

Add reserved pasta water and cooked pasta to sauce pan. Stir together.

8

Add parmesan cheese, basil, butter and mix until incorporated. Taste sauce and add more salt or cheese if needed. Let cook for a few more minutes to coat pasta completely.

9

Top with extra fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

10

Enjoy & buon appetito!

CategoryCuisineCooking Method

Ingredients

 5 oz pancetta
 ¼ cup olive oil
 1.50 diced white onion
 2 minced garlic cloves
 ¼ cup vodka
 6 oz tomato paste
 3 cups heavy cream
 1 tsp salt
 12 tsp red pepper flakes (if you prefer a spicier sauce)
 ¼ tsp pepper
 pasta water (reserved from boiling). Less for a thicker sauce, more for a less thick
 1 box of rigatoni pasta
 ½ cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese
 2 tbsp fresh basil (add more for garnish)
 1 tbsp butter

Directions

1

Add pancetta to a large frying pan, heat until get somewhat crispy.

2

In the same pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until garlic is fragrant.

3

Pour vodka in and cook until almost all evaporated.

4

Add tomato paste and stir until well mixed.

5

Pour heavy cream, salt, and pepper into the pan. Optional: add red pepper flakes for a boost in spiciness. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

6

While the sauce is simmering, bring pasta water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed on box minus 1 minute for al dente. Strain, and don’t forget to reserve some pasta water!

7

Add reserved pasta water and cooked pasta to sauce pan. Stir together.

8

Add parmesan cheese, basil, butter and mix until incorporated. Taste sauce and add more salt or cheese if needed. Let cook for a few more minutes to coat pasta completely.

9

Top with extra fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

10

Enjoy & buon appetito!

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