The Best Pasta Sauce Ever


Do me a favor: MAKE THIS PASTA SAUCE FOR DINNER TONIGHT! I think you’ll thank me.  It’s absolutely, positively, hands down, 100% the best pasta sauce I have ever tasted. And I’ve had a lot of pasta sauce experience so you must understand how bold of a statement I just made.  The best part is: I made it myself! And once you read how easy it is, you’ll be able to make it too!

I know. That’s certainly a lot of excitement over a pasta sauce. But let me explain. I grew up with lots of jarred sauce in my day, which don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed, but I never knew how much of a difference fresh could make. I thought that even though it was mass produced, the pasta sauce makers of my day still knew what they were doing and I should leave the sauce making to the experts.

But, through my love of Italian restaurants, I developed a love for vodka sauce, a sweet mixture of tomato and cream with a hint of spice from the vodka. No jar could ever compare to the restaurant quality I had tasted. So, I made this sauce. And let me tell you, I surpassed the restaurants! With chunks of tomatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, and a deep rich flavor, this sauce is truly addictive. I’m eating the leftovers for my lunch as I type this blog post and I wish I had more. The cream is often to blame for making vodka sauce too rich, but the small amount in this sauce keeps it light and still refreshing.

But truthfully, I think the secret is the shallots. I’m not a big onion fan but I do enjoy the flavor of shallots so I decided to mix the two to add flavor but still have enough to add texture. The onions and shallots become sort of caramelized and provide the perfect background flavor if you ask me!

Anyway, I couldn’t be more proud of my concoction that I just needed to share it with the rest of the world. Here is how to make my new favorite vodka sauce:


Step 1: Chop up 1 lg. shallot,  2 cloves garlic and 1/4 onion. Brown them in olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Need a new saucepan? Get one from the Recipe4Living Cooking Store!


Step 2: Add canned tomatoes (make sure to drain the liquid!) and fresh tomatoes to the mix and any seasoning you like. I love the spice of crushed red pepper flakes so I added some here. Let that stew for 5-10 minutes.


Step 3: Add cream and vodka. Let cook until thickened. Don’t worry – it’s not going to look right at first but give it a little time and it will become that orange color we all love. If the mixture is too thin, quickly stir in 1 Tbs. flour.

When it’s done, it should look like this:


…a simmering bowl of delicious tomato-ey creamy wonderfully flavored goodness!

Need a new saucepan? Get one from the Recipe4Living Cooking Store!

Now, pour it over some pasta. Mix in any veggies you want to add. We added sauteed mushrooms and steamed spinach. And voila, we had a wonderful meal!


The only thing I didn’t like was the pasta itself! I bought a new brand, and I don’t know if I just didn’t boil it long enough or what..but it tasted grainy, chewy and…well, terrible. It was sad to waste good sauce on terrible pasta…but there was nothing I could do. But the sauce still made the dinner and good pasta or bad pasta, it was hard not to eat!


I also have to give a lot of credit to my sous chef mother who did a wonderful job chopping up the garlic, onions and shallots. She is much neater of a chopper than I could ever be and I think that really made a difference in the sauce. Just look at that skill! Thank you mom!

Naturally, I’d like to submit this entry into Presto Pasta Nights to be hosted this week by me (Chew on That)! Tune in tomorrow for the roundup and a whole sloe of equally delicious looking pasta dishes.


Delicious Homemade Vodka Sauce

I made this vodka sauce from scratch, and it’s hands down the best I have ever tasted! Serve with penne, rigatoni or pasta of your choice! This recipe is loosely based off of this one but I made enough tweaks where I think I can safely call it my own.


2 cloves garlic
1 lg. shallot
1/4 yellow onion
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. vodka
1 Tbs. all purpose flour (if necessary for thickening)


In a saucepan, brown garlic, shallots and onion in olive oil, about 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and crushed red pepper. Mix, breaking up tomatoes, and let cook on medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes. Add heavy cream and vodka and stir. Let cook for 5-10 minutes. If the mixture doesn’t thicken, quickly stir in 1 Tbs. flour. Keep heated until serving.

Serve over cooked penne or rigatoni or pasta of your choice. Tip: Try out this pasta pot from the Recipe4Living Cooking Store!

More Like This:
Penne Pasta with Tomato Vodka Sauce
Shrimp Penne a la Vodka
Rigatoni a la Vodka with Chicken and Asparagus

Serving Size: 4-6

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  • Roberto RECETASonline

    It looks fantastic and delicious… I’m going to try it for dinner

    Un saludo ;)

  • lockerz invite

    Thanks! Ill try this sauce tonight at home, I will let you know if my family liked it!

  • miami

    just made this pasta….amazing!!!

  • quartz microfiber filter paper

    If i want to study cooking it ,is that easy?

  • JP Faiella

    Looks Great! Have you ever tried any of Bove’s of Vermont’s sauces?? We’d be happy to send for you to try!

  • JFR Cigars

    I wouldn’t do red onions in this sauce, just because I don’t like them– I’d go with sweet onions because they are less pungent. But everything else looks good!

  • Acid Cigars

    I have tried the Vodka sauce and it’s a little pungent for my taste… My husband was impartial.

  • Jeff

    Looks great! Thanks for posting.

  • Richard

    I thought my homemade sauce was the best but will give this a try and see it is the best ever! Maybe a combo of both will be the ticket!

  • Edeth

    I’ll take your challenge…’s a rainy day in Colorado, so this will be my Saturday project to make the sauce!

  • Pasta Maker Machine

    Wow, it seems good!
    I found an alternative to vodka though, I tried some inexpensive wine and worked as well! :)

  • Drew

    I stumbled on this recipe and used it for a base as I had never made pasta sauce before! It was delicious!

  • buy tea online

    I will have to try it tonight.

  • visahan.a

    wonderfull i loved it ……
    thaks 2 chef…

  • Vodka Recipes Aficionado

    I tried many vodka pasta recipes. I tried this, loved it and it is a permanent entry in my vodka recipes! Thank you!

  • menu cafe

    Hi very health full ,vegetable sharing thanks for it.

  • /roberta Hynds

    I’m very excited to try this on my family tonight, going to try it….Sounds very good and tasty

  • http://ThkeBesPastaSauceEver /roberta Hynds

    going to give it a try for our dinner tonight!

  • Steve

    I have to first point out that cooking is all about cooking to your taste and what you like. TO the author of this recipe, this may be a great accomplishment and you may truly believe it is the best ever. That being said, this is not a true vodka sauce. The ingredients are fine but the order in which you add them is all wrong. I guarantee you if you tasted mine… you would not be so high on yours anymore. I’d bet a year’s salary on that. Nice try though.

  • Katie

    First of all, to each his own. I have to agree with the first person who posted a comment. I made this sauce this evening and was terribly disappointed. I added sauteed red pepper and mushrooms, if I hadn’t I would have probably thrown it away. The proportions were all wrong, the vodka was never reduced, and the sauce just tasted like cream with tomatoes and onions. If you have never made a vodka sauce before, do not make this your first recipe! There are far superior ones out there, that will aid you I’m the right direction.

  • Lyrsa

    I’m in culinary school, and this looks like vomit.

  • jake zabuski

    what is a vodka? can i buy them at the grocery store?

  • Parttime

    I am so stressed at many of these comments.. It seems there are no cooks out there only eating survivors. If you dont learn to cook or its not in your blood and you dont have a flare in the kitchen with food, everything is just ok!There are too many things about cooking tecniques you’d never know to try. All the ingredients sound good, but the order…the measurements…I would adjust them, personally. But, coming from people who live on jar sauces…I have never tasted one. And who doesnt know what vodka is. Are we all of age here or did I drift to a collage site???? Is something in the water????

  • Sue

    To the person above ..@Parttime, please note that ‘college’ is spelled with ‘ege’ not ‘age’. So much for trying to demean ‘college’ students when your spelling and grammar are clearly lacking.
    By the way, if you get ‘stressed’ by something over the INTERNET, you clearly need a life. (:

    Anyways, nice recipe! I bumped into it by chance and would try it if only I eat shallots (allergic to them). >__<

  • JD

    Made this last night and loved it! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  • http://recipe4living Helga Burns

    About the whole grain pasta – I had tried a couple varieties and hated them. Decided they were not worth it. However, I did give the Barilla whole wheat pasta a try and was pleasantly surprised, I even used it in a dish for a ladies’ luncheon and everyone loved it. This vodka sauce looks interesting, I’ll have to try it.

  • Ginger

    I did not have any vodka (oops drank it all) – so I used dry vermouth. It was delicious – I actually liked it better.

  • Susan Dugal

    This post is amazing! I am going to put this in the bookmarks before I misplace
    the link, I don’t believe I’ll ever find my way back otherwise!

  • Rentals London

    Grain Pasta, one of my favorites… Thanks Hillary, I am going to try some of the variation on weekends.

  • Janet

    Made this tonight after googling for any kind of vodka pink sauce…because I did it from my iPhone I didnt scroll all the way down and didn’t see the quantities and the written out recipe and it still came out great! Thanks Hillary! I’m also impressed that people have been trying this and commenting on it for three years! Thank you for the great recipe!

  • http://yahoo Patty

    I don’t think i would waste my time,food,or money on this pasta sauce recipe.From the looks of it i would not put it in front of my family. I am sorry it just don’t look good and it don’t look like ITAL.

  • Gina Marie

    The worst, tasteless vodka sauce I have ever made. I even tried to add basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and it was still bad. Sorry, I really wanted this to work.

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