Amanda’s (almost) Famous Vodka Sauce

It was my birthday recently and to celebrate, we had some friends over for appetizers, cocktails, and drinking games (Cards against Humanity because we are terrible people). My friends were awesome enough to bring some great snacks (see this yummy recipe for Jalapeno Poppers our friend Alex brought) as well as booze. We had a fantastic time, but afterwards I had copious amounts of leftover vodka that I really wanted to get rid of. I know, I know, what 20-something complains about having TOO MUCH vodka? Unfortunately, I think I consumed too much cheap vodka in college, because now I’ve developed a relatively strong aversion to most vodka drinks (I prefer my whiskey and wine on wine on wine). Then a brilliant idea came to mind: why not make homemade vodka sauce? The whole recipe takes about 1.5 hours, which isn’t bad at all considering the end result. This one is for the books. It is the absolute best pasta sauce I have ever had- either in a bottle, at a restaurant, you name it. I’m excited to hear what you think of it, please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Also, please note that this would be incredible with pancetta (added in during the first step), but we are only presenting the vegetarian version for a base.                                   


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vodka (I use Ketel One)
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes (I use Hunts)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar (light is okay too)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup light cream (trying to make this a little healthier!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted and bubbly, saute onion and garlic until golden brown and soft.

Pour in vodka alongside with crushed red pepper flakes and let cook for 10 minutes.


Mix in crushed tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, parsley,  brown sugar and chili powder. Cook for 30 minutes- be  careful to stir occasionally so mixture does not burn on  the bottom (or adjust heat).

Pour in heavy and light cream as well as grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well and let cook an additional 30 minutes.

Adjust taste with salt and pepper and either bottle for later use (waiting for sauce to cool- I use Mason Jars), or serve immediately over pasta and enjoy with some red wine (obviously).


Nutrition Facts:

Servings: 10; Calories: 283; Fat: 21 g; Sodium: 251 mg; Cholesterol: 65 mg; Carb: 5 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 6 g

**Note: nutrition facts for sauce only; does not include pasta**

Amanda’s Rating: 10/10

Nevin’s Rating: 10/10


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Michele Santiago says:

    OK, Panda- let’s try this once again, since my first comment must have traveled off somewhere into cyberspace, never to appear again….
    This recipe is out of this world!! I made it last Sunday for me and Marv, with a few minor changes, to accomodate your stepdad’s palate: I omitted the chili powder ( since Marv doesn’t like his food too spicy) and substituted pureed tomatoes for crushed ( as Marv prefers a smoother sauce, more like a marinara, to the chunkier variety). I also used only light cream, to cut down a bit on calories. We had it over whole wheat penne pasta and it was terrific!!! The leftover sauce I Food Saved in a container and froze it for future use.
    You have a winner here, with this sauce- and I did use Ketel vodka- perhaps you should think about contacting their marketing department with this recipe!!


  2. says:

    Hi, Amanda, Love your blog, and Alex’s. I signed up for his blog, too. Love, Uncle Bob. PS: Alex is doing a ride for ALS and also for MS. I want to donate, but not online. Can I write two checks and mail them to him.  How should I make out the checks? What’s his address? Thanks.


    1. chefchewie says:

      So happy to hear you are enjoying the blog! I will send you the information for donating in an email. Thanks!


  3. suboy7 says:

    Only you would cook with Kettle One…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. chefchewie says:

      what can i say, I’m all about dat lyfe (to quote nev)

      But seriously, I didn’t want to risk jeopardizing the flavor by using Smirnoff. Maybe I can make another batch using Smirnoff and then post a comparison result. Let’s see if it actually makes a difference!

      Liked by 1 person


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