Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Kayla Berman
If you’ve been meaning to try the TikTok-famous Spicy Vodka Pasta, then you’re in the right place. Say hello to the scrumptiously creamy, deliciously fiery, and slightly tipsy Italian pasta dish that supermodel Gigi Hadid made famous! Best of all, it takes just 12 simple ingredients AND you can whip it up faster than watching that viral cat video for the 10th time. ME-OW! 🌶✨
Why You’ll Love This Spicy Vodka Pasta Recipe
If you’re looking for an excuse to make this crave-worthy dinner, I’ve got you covered. This spicy penne pasta recipe is:
- Restaurant-Style Flavor, At Home: I’ve indulged in my fair share of penne alla vodka at eateries galore, but nothing beats this homemade delight. Seriously, it’s 🤌chef’s kiss 🤌 delicious!
- Ridiculously Tasty: Think creamy, rich, thick, velvety, and bursting with flavor. This is the perfectly spicy pasta recipe of your dreams.
- Super Simple: No need for serious kitchen skills here—just a little chopping and you’re on your way to pasta paradise. Easy peasy!
- Ideal for Any Occasion: Whether you’re planning a romantic date night, a comfy evening on the couch, feeding the whole family, or dazzling your friends at a dinner party, this recipe sets the mood.
- A Real Crowd-Pleaser: Prepare for the oohs, aahs, and can-I-have-seconds from everyone around the table.
- Trendsetter Approved: Remember the Gigi Hadid Spicy Vodka Pasta frenzy on social media back in 2020? Yep, this recipe brings back all that hype and deliciousness that had TikTok and Instagram buzzing! 📲🍝
Ready to light up your tastebuds? Let’s get that pasta water boiling!
Ingredients & Substitutions
I forgot to mention this pasta requires just a dozen simple ingredients. Count that as one more reason to love it! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pasta – While you can use any shape you like, the spicy cream sauce works best on short shapes like penne or rigatoni. Feel free to swap in gluten-free noodles if needed!
- Olive Oil – There’s no need to bust out the fancy finishing oil here; just your normal cooking oil is perfect.
- Shallots – Essentially onions-lite, these mild alliums add an aromatic sweetness I love. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can use about ½ of a medium yellow or red onion instead.
- Garlic – While I am a firm believer that fresh garlic cloves are always best, I won’t tell if you use jarred minced garlic or frozen garlic paste to cut back on prep time. 😉
- Tomato Paste – If possible, opt for double concentrated tomato paste to help you get a jump on the caramelization process.
- Red Pepper Flakes – For the heat this spicy creamy pasta demands. Feel free to adjust the heat level by adding more or less to taste.
- Vodka – The real magic of adding vodka isn’t about turning your sauce into a cocktail hour; it’s the secret to unlocking those hidden flavors and achieving an irresistibly creamy texture. Vodka acts as to reveal subtle taste compounds that are often undercover. It also acts as the peacekeeper between the cream and tomatoes, blending them perfectly, so you get a sauce that’s smooth and velvety. By toning down the tomato’s tartness, it lets the sauce’s rich, balanced flavors shine through. And finally, it brings just a whisper of heat to remind you it’s there. 🍝✨
- Heavy Cream – This is where the real creamy, dreamy texture comes from. You’re welcome to use slightly lighter whipping cream, which has 30-36% milkfat as opposed to 36% or more in heavy cream.
- Pasta Cooking Water – Okay, this is technically an extra ingredient, but you need the water to boil the pasta anyway. 🤷🏼♀️ Adding some of the starchy goodness that’s left in the water is integral to achieving the perfect glossy sauce consistency.
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese – If you’re feeding a stringent vegetarian, make sure to read the label. Many parmesan cheese brands are made with animal rennet. You’re welcome to use another hard, aged Italian cheese like pecorino, romano, or grana padano, but the vegetarian comment still applies.
- Unsalted Butter – Between the salty parmesan cheese and the salted pasta water, you already have a lot of sodium floating around. Start with unsalted butter, then add the seasoning you need to taste.
- Salt & Black Pepper – For basic seasoning. I recommend using kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Fresh Basil – Adding a chiffonade of fresh basil as garnish boosts the flavor quotient, plus adds a lovely pop of green to your plate.
- Large Pot
- Chef’s Knife
- Cutting Board
- Large Sauté Pan
- Measuring Spoons & Cups
- Liquid Measuring Cup
How To Make Gigi Hadid’s Pasta Recipe Spicy Vodka Sauce
This spicy pasta recipe comes together in just 35 minutes, start to finish. Here’s how:
Step 1: Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
Step 2: Sauté the aromatics. Add the olive oil, shallots, and garlic to a large saucepan or large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. Sauté for 5 minutes until soft, fragrant, and translucent.
Step 3: Caramelize the tomato paste. Add the tomato paste and red chili flakes to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes until the tomato paste begins to caramelize and turns a darker, brick-red color.
Step 4: Add the vodka. Cook until the alcohol evaporates. This should take 2-3 minutes.
Step 5: Add the heavy cream and combine into the sauce.
Step 6: Add the parmesan cheese and ½ cup reserved pasta water.
Step 7: Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 8: Stir in the cooked al dente pasta until fully coated.
Step 9: Add in the butter and combine until melted. Feel free to add more pasta water here to reach your desired sauce consistency.
Step 10: Garnish & Enjoy. Serve with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top, then dig in!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations
While I love this spicy vodka rigatoni recipe just the way it is written, there are plenty of opportunities to make it your own:
- More or Less Spicy – Feel free to adjust the heat of this spicy cream sauce pasta by adding more or less red pepper flakes.
- No Vodka – The OG Gigi Hadid spicy vodka pasta recipe that blew up all over Tik Tok was actually made without vodka (which was a clue to some of her fans that she was actually pregnant at the time). If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to either omit it like Gigi did, or swap in white wine! While either variation won’t have quite the same flavor and won’t technically be a vodka sauce, the resulting creamy spicy pasta will still be super delicious.
- Gluten-Free – Simply use your favorite gluten-free noodles to make it celiac-friendly.
- Vegan – While I haven’t tried it myself, I think you could easily make this vegetarian pasta vegan-friendly by swapping in your favorite plant-based butter, whipping cream, and parmesan cheese.
- Patience is a virtue. Don’t rush the steps — really let the flavors develop and take your time! It takes several minutes for the tomato paste to start to caramelize. Also, make sure to sauté the shallot & garlic for the allotted time to coax out the best taste.
- Salt your pasta water. You only get one shot to season the noodles, so don’t miss it!
- Add pasta water as needed. If the spicy vodka pasta sauce feels dry after adding the noodles to the pan, add more water. I also like to save a bit of the pasta water if I’m keeping leftovers. Adding a splash before microwaving does a great job of restoring it to its original glory.
- Skip the vodka if you want! You can replace it with white wine or omit it altogether.
- Use a small pasta shape. Spicy penne alla vodka is classic because these short, tube-shaped noodles work so well to grab the sauce. Shell pasta and rigatoni also work beautifully!
- Grate your own cheese. I’m all for kitchen shortcuts, but pre-grated cheese is not a good one to take in this recipe. The starchy coating that keeps the shreds from glomming together in a lump also prevents them from melting properly, which can result in a gritty consistency in the Gigi Hadid vodka sauce.
Craving more than just pasta on your plate? I got you! These suggestions will turn your vodka pasta night into a full-blown Italian feast:
- Veggie & Protein Boost: Amp up the health quotient and heartiness by tossing in your favorite veggies or a protein of your choice. Whether it’s crispy pan-seared chicken, juicy shrimp, or vibrant roasted veggies, the sauce pairs beautifully with almost anything!
- The Classic Duo: Want to make your meal feel like it’s straight out of an Italian bistro? Serve your pasta alongside a refreshing side salad and some warm, buttery garlic bread. It’s the ultimate combo that never fails to impress.
- Dinner Party Goals: Planning to host? Keep the Italian vibes strong! Kick off with an appetizer like bruschetta or caprese salad, and finish the evening on a sweet note with a classic tiramisu or panna cotta. Your guests will be humming “That’s Amore” in no time.
Buon Appetito! 🇮🇹
Wondering if Gigi Hadid’s spicy vodka pasta will leave you tipsy? 🤔 The answer is: Nope! While the sauce starts with alcohol in it, most of the alcohol cooks off during the simmering process, leaving behind only the deep flavors and none of the boozy effects.
Thinking of skipping the vodka? You totally can! The pasta will still be creamy and delicious, but the vodka does add a certain depth and sharpness to the flavor. Feel free to use white wine as a yummy alternative. If you’re aiming for an alcohol-free version, just dive right in and follow the recipe minus the vodka. Either way, you’re in for a pasta treat! 🍝✨
Vodka pasta doesn’t always wear a spicy hat, but my version sure has a sassy little kick to it! 🌶️ Not too fiery, just a pleasant zing. Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat with the spice level—just adjust the red pepper flakes to your heart’s desire. Whether you like it sizzling or just a hint of heat, you can make it just right! 🍝✨
Vodka sauce is believed to have Italian-American roots, emerging in the 1980s. While there’s a bit of debate about its exact origin, it’s widely accepted that the sauce is a fusion creation, blending Italian culinary traditions with the flair of American innovation. As for the “spicy” part? That’s a twist some chefs and home cooks have added over time to give the creamy sauce a delightful kick! 🍝🌶🇮🇹🇺🇸
More Pasta Dishes
- Chicken Caprese Pasta
- Hidden Veggie Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Spinach
- Marry Me Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Greek Yogurt Alfredo Pasta
- Burrata Pasta with Veggies
Connect With Me!
If you make this delicious pasta recipe or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.
Love this recipe? Leave a comment and a rating! I love to see and it helps me continue to develop delicious recipes for this blog.Print
Spicy Vodka Pasta (Viral Gigi Hadid Recipe!)
If you’ve been meaning to try the TikTok-famous Spicy Vodka Pasta, then you’re in the right place. Say hello to the scrumptiously creamy, deliciously fiery, and slightly tipsy Italian pasta dish that Gigi Hadid made famous! Best of all, it takes just 12 simple ingredients AND you can whip it up in about 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutea
- Cook Time: 25 Minutes
- Total Time: 35 minute
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian American
- 8 oz pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½–¾ cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Black pepper
- Fresh basil
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot of salted water. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add the olive oil, shallots, and garlic to a large pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Sauté for 5 minutes until soft, fragrant, and translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes until the tomato paste begins to caramelize and turns a darker, brick red color.
- Add the vodka. Cook until the alcohol evaporates off. This should take 2-3 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and combine into the sauce.
- Add the parmesan cheese and ½ cup reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir the cooked pasta until fully coated. Add in the butter and combine until melted. You can also add more pasta water here to reach your desired sauce consistency.
- Serve with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top. Enjoy!
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