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Spicy sausage and vodka pasta

A gourmet dish you can make at home. The spicy Italian sausage adds a ton of flavour, along with the red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese and heavy cream and of course, vodka! 



  • Kosher salt, to season boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 14.5-oz. tube double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Basil leaves, for serving


  1. Fill a stockpot or other large pot three-quarters full with water and heat over high. Toss in a handful of salt and bring to a boil while you do your other prep.
  2. Heat two tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium and add the sausage; cook for two minutes. Then add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, just until the onion is starting to brown around the edges, five to seven minutes.
  3. Add the entire four and a half-ounce tube of tomato paste and half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and stir until the paste evenly coats the onion. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the paste is deep red and starting to brown on the bottom of the pot, five to seven minutes.
  4. Add two ounces of vodka to deglaze the pan and stir to incorporate, scraping the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Using a heatproof glass measuring cup, scoop about a quarter cup of boiling water from the pot, then add a cup three-quarter cup heavy cream to the measuring cup (this brings up the temperature of the cream so it won’t break when you add it to the pot).
  6. Slowly add warmed cream to Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat.
  7. Add one pound of rigatoni to a pot of boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Just before the pasta is cooked, scoop up about one cup of pasta cooking liquid.
  8. Using a spider, transfer rigatoni to a Dutch oven along with any water that’s piggybacking on the pasta.
  9. Add half a cup of pasta cooking liquid to Dutch oven and stir to incorporate, then gradually add half of Parmesan, stirring constantly to melt the cheese. You should have a smooth, glossy sauce that coats each piece of pasta. Season with salt and add a splash more pasta cooking liquid to thin sauce, if needed.
  10. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with remaining cheese, dividing evenly. Drizzle with more oil, then tear basil leaves over. Enjoy!

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