If you were to ask me what my favorite pasta dish was, I’d have to respond with spicy vodka pasta (more commonly known as Gigi Hadid pasta)!
Back in 2020, she shared her version of a spicy vodka pasta on her social media channels and it started trending overnight! In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve met anyone who hasn’t heard of the infamous Gigi Hadid pasta recipe.
I’ll be the first to say that my recipe differs from the viral Gigi Hadid pasta recipe, but I do like my version more. This pasta alla vodka is loaded with a spicy, creamy, cheesy sauce and topped off with extra parmesan cheese, freshly chopped basil, and chili flakes!
To make my version of spicy vodka pasta, you’ll need:
- Heavy cream – I love using dairy free heavy cream in this recipe. You get the same taste & outcome as you would if you used regular heavy cream, so feel free to swap!
- Tomato paste – I recommend buying a tube of tomato paste as you’re not going to need an entire can. However, if you purchase a can of tomato paste, freeze the rest of it in an ice tray and use at a later date!
- Vodka – Can be swapped with white rum (but then it wouldn’t really be a vodka sauce pasta).
- Parmesan cheese – When it comes to this recipe, you’ll want a lot of parmesan cheese! You’ll want to use fresh parmesan cheese in the pasta sauce and not grated parmesan cheese!
- Shallot – Instead of using a yellow onion, I go for shallots. You can also use a red onion if you have it on hand.
- Garlic – I’m a garlic girl so I use a lot of garlic. When it comes to adding garlic, add with your heart ♡
- Butter – I’ll typically use unsalted for this recipe. If you plan on using salted butter, make sure to taste before adding more salt!
- Fresh basil – There’s nothing like fresh basil in this pasta recipe. Dried basil just isn’t good enough!
- Olive oil – Helps to add a bold flavor to the pasta sauce. Feel free to use avocado oil instead!
- Pasta – I use rigatoni but use what you have on hand! Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe called for shell pasta.
- Reserved pasta water – Adds a bit of body and helps to thin your creamy sauce out.
- Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch – I use this in place of crushed red chili flakes. It’s a game changer.
So, what makes my spicy vodka pasta recipe different than Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe?
Well first and foremost, I swap the red pepper flakes with Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch. I find that it adds way more flavor than crushed red pepper flakes (AKA it has more of a spicy kick). Don’t worry – you can still add a dash of red pepper flakes to your vodka pasta if you’d like!
I would also recommend adding in some oven dried tomatoes to this dish!
One final note: Tomato paste is much different than tomato sauce. I would not recommend swapping tomato paste for tomato sauce in this recipe, as it won’t result in the bold flavor you’re after.
How to make spicy vodka pasta
This is one of the easiest pasta recipes out there. There’s really no way you can mess this spicy vodka pasta recipe up!
First, boil your pasta water according to package directions. Make sure you salt the pasta water!!
While the pasta water is heating up, start making the spicy vodka sauce. Add some extra virgin olive oil and your diced shallot to a deep sauté pan over medium heat and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. This should take about 5 minutes!
Once the shallots have softened, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, stir in the tomato paste (not tomato sauce) and cook until it’s darkened in color – about five minutes. At this point, your pasta water should be boiling so begin cooking your pasta!
Add in the chili onion crunch, vodka, and heavy cream to the sauté pan. Cook for about two minutes (or until everything in well incorporated) then add in the parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Add in the fresh basil leaves along with the butter and stir again.
By now, the pasta should be done. Reserve 3/4 cups of the pasta water before draining. Add in the reserved pasta water as well as the cooked pasta to the sauce.
Stir everything together to fully coat and enjoy! Feel free to add extra parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil 🙂
Alternatively, you can add fresh parsley to this creamy vodka sauce pasta! If you don’t want to use red pepper flakes, I’d recommend putting some additional chili onion crunch.
Frequently asked questions
If you have a question not answered below, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!
What does vodka do to pasta sauce?
Vodka helps to maintain a cohesive texture within a vodka sauce. This allows the creaminess you get from the heavy cream to meld with the tomato paste cohesively!
Can kids eat spicy vodka pasta?
If cooked thoroughly, it’s 100% safe for children to eat spicy vodka pasta! But do what feels right for you + your family.
What protein would be good in spicy vodka pasta?
Some spicy, crumbled Italian sausage would be amazing in this dish. But, so would shrimp and chicken!
You definitely don’t need a protein in this pasta, though. It’s perfectly tasty without one!
Are you able to make spicy vodka sauce with milk?
So, you can… but I advise against it. You need something creamier in a spicy vodka sauce. If you’re trying to cut down on the amount of fat in this recipe, I’d replace the heavy cream with half and half.
It’s still creamy and will have better results than milk!
What can I use in place of vodka for this recipe?
For sure! Feel free to use white rum, dry white wine, or even white grape juice!
Is there a specific noodle you should use for spicy vodka pasta?
Absolutely not! You can use practically any type of cooked pasta in this dish. Between shell pasta, whole wheat pasta, penne pasta, rigatoni or even linguine pasta!
I’ve made penne alla vodka in the past but personally, I’m a huge fan of rigatoni!Print
Truly the Best Spicy Vodka Pasta
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 25 Minutes
- Yield: 5 Servings 1x
- 16 oz rigatoni pasta
- 3/4 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 TBSP Trader Joes Chili Onion Crunch
- 1 TBSP butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2–3 basil leaves, rolled & thinly cut
- First, boil your pasta water according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water!!
- While the pasta water is heating up, begin making the spicy vodka sauce. Add the olive oil and shallot to a deep sauté pan and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Once the shallots have softened, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, stir in the tomato paste and cook until it’s darkened in color – about five minutes. At this point, your pasta water should be boiling so begin cooking your pasta!
- Add in the chili onion crunch, vodka, and heavy cream to the sauté pan. Cook for about two minutes (or until everything in well incorporated) then add in the parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Add in the basil leaves along with the butter and stir again.
- By now, the pasta should be done. Reserve 3/4 cups of the pasta water, then drain your pasta and add it to the vodka sauce along with the reserved pasta water.
- Stir everything together to fully coat and enjoy! Feel free to add extra Parmesan cheese and basil 🙂