Spicy Pasta alla Vodka

We eat a lot of pasta, though we rarely eat the same dish more than once a month. When it comes to pasta, you could make a new pasta dish every day for a year and never duplicate there are so many options. I do not have a favorite pasta dish although I must say I enjoy a well prepared lasagna. I am happy to eat any type of pasta however, especially those with some added spice to the sauce.

My husband and I both love nduja, so I am always trying to find new ways to add it to my recipes. If you are not familiar with nduja, it is a spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Calabria, Italy. It is typically made with parts of the pig such as the shoulder and belly, as well as tripe, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices.

Nduja, although spicy, doesn’t have too much heat, so even my grandkids enjoy it. I add it on my pizza, spread on bruschetta, and I like to add it to some of my pasta recipes. This pasta recipe is one I made a few times in Italy before we left, and I never managed to get photos of the completed dish, so I made it for my husband and grandson this past week and they both really enjoyed it

This pasta dish is full of flavor and has just a hint of heat because the nduja is tempered by the tomato sauce as well as the heavy cream. I used a fresh garganelli pasta shape for my pasta dish, but any short pasta would work just as well.


Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pasta alla Vodka With A Bite

Pasta alla Vodka With A Bite

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A full flavored pasta recipe with just enough heat.


  • 1 Pound Pasta (See Notes Above)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 4 Ounces Nduja
  • 3/4 Cup Vodka
  • 1 (28 Ounce) Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese Plus Extra For Serving.
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley


  1. Add the oil to a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once it is hot, add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Add the nduja and stir until it melts into the oil.
  5. Add the vodka, and cook until it is reduced by half.
  6. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil while the sauce is simmering.
  9. Add the pasta and cook until it is "al dente".
  10. Stir the cream and parsley into the sauce, and keep sauce warm.
  11. Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot.
  12. Add half the sauce and the cheese to the pasta, and toss until mixed.
  13. Serve the pasta in individual bowls with a scoop of sauce on top.
  14. Serve, passing the extra cheese around at the table for those who want it.


Adapted from Smoky Pasta Alla Vodka from Food52

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 159mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g

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