Rigatoni alla Vodka

This is one of my favorite recipes because I’m a huge fan of vodka and pasta! This is such an easy dish and what makes this recipe even better is that you can try a new cooking technique (or perfect it, if you’re a pro)…flambé! Here’s what you should know about the ingredients below: First, please do not use cheap vodka because it’s less likely to make a flame because of its low proof count. Secondly, the grated pecorino Romano is a little pricey, so if you’re not a person who uses grated Romano feel free to substitute Parmesan or another less pricey alternative.

Now that you know the deal…happy cooking! 

Image: Yelp

Rigatoni alla Vodka
Yields 6
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Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 1/2 lb. rigatoni
  2. 1 cup marinara sauce
  3. 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 4 oz. prosciutto, sliced
  5. 1 tsp. Chile flakes
  6. 1/2 cup vodka
  7. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  8. 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano
  1. 1. Bring your pasta water to a boil, salting it slightly, and then dropping in your rigatoni. Shave at least one minute off the recommended cooking time.
  2. 2. While the rigatoni is cooking, start the base for your sauce. Grab three cloves of garlic and a generous amount of prosciutto and slice them up. Try to cut the prosciutto in long strips. Slice the garlic thin and flat so that it will not burn as easily while cooking.
  3. 3. Toss the garlic and prosciutto into some hot olive oil and sauté for two minutes until the prosciutto starts to render its fat, but before the garlic has starts to turn brown and burn. Add in about a quarter cup of vodka (enough so that it covers the entire pan and all your ingredients, but not enough that it's very deep. You want it to just cover your ingredients).
  4. 4. With extreme caution, light the vodka with a flame.
  5. 5. Shuffle the pan back and forth so that everything gets stirred around and all of the alcohol dissipates. This should take about 15 or 20 seconds.
  6. 6. After the flame is out, add in one cup of heavy cream and mix everything together. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it thicken for a few minutes.
  7. 7. Add one cup of your choice of tomato sauce to the cream mixture. You can add some red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. 8. Forgot about your rigatoni? It should be done at this point. Take it directly from your pot and drop it into the sauce. Add in a quarter of a cup of pecorino Romano cheese, and stir it all together, with the pan still over low-medium heat. If the sauce needs to be any looser, you can add a touch of the pasta water.
  1. Let rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy!
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