The Ultimate Vodka Sauce

We think vodka sauce is kind of perfect. It’s a harmonious balance of sweet crushed tomatoes, silky butter and cream, and spicy vodka and crushed red pepper. We tested multiple sauces and found that this adaptation of Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s recipe is the absolute greatest. We like it best over rigatoni, but penne or any other tubular pasta will also work. Finished with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, it’s the ultimate Italian-American comfort food and a great excuse to crack open a new bottle of vodka. Use the rest to mix up one of these great vodka cocktails.

The Details
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42.5 oz Crushed Tomatoes
.25 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Cloves
.5 tsp Crushed red pepper
.25 Cup Vodka
.5 Cup Heavy cream
2 tbsp Butter
2-3 tbsp Italian parsley
Salt and pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crush the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, swirling the pan so the garlic doesn’t burn, until lightly browned—about 3 minutes.
  • Carefully add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet, sliding them in as gently as possible so they don’t splatter. Bring to a boil. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt.
  • Pour in the vodka, lower the heat and let it cook at a lively simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the butter and stir well. Mix in the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rigatoni or your choice of tubular pasta.