Vodka Pasta with Sausage is the perfect dreamy dinner. Crowd favourite Pasta alla Vodka kicked up a notch with savoury sausage – this is a real treat!
Pasta alla Vodka
Pasta with vodka sauce is one of my all-time favourite meals. It’s super easy to throw together and so dangerously tasty. This recipe from Foods Of Jane is my usual go-to (I always have the main ingredients stocked in my kitchen!) and this dish is heavily inspired by it.
For this recipe, I have added some crumbled Italian Sausage and swapped the tomato puree for some silky passata to take it up a notch. The result is a deliciously decadent meal, with a luscious sauce which you’ll want to lick off the plate. Perfect for Date Night or a cosy weekend dinner in front of the TV.
Italian Style, or Fennel Sausages work best for this recipe, but as they can sometimes be a bit difficult to find in UK supermarkets, any type of pork sausage will work. If you really want to recreate that classic Italian fennel sausage flavour, you can add it in during cooking.
Before you cook the sausage, toast half a teaspoon of fennel seeds until fragrant then transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind. Add the ground fennel seeds to the pan when you brown the sausage meat, along with a pinch of chilli flakes.
Why add Vodka to Pasta Sauce?
If you’ve never tried it before, you might be wondering why on Earth you would add vodka to pasta sauce.
Well, firstly, when you make a cream based sauce adding an acidic element (in this case, the tomato) can cause the cream to separate. Vodka can act as an emulsifier in this case, and stop the sauce from separating.
Secondly, it just really adds to the overall flavour of the dish! Small amounts of alcohol in cooking can help to intensify and release flavours already in the ingredients. Slowly simmering a small amount of alcohol helps to draw out the peppery, herbal flavours from the tomato in this sauce. The end product doesn’t taste of alcohol, but it does help pull the cream, tomato, garlic and onion together to create a silky smooth sauce with a lovely sharp bite.
Do I need to Use Vodka?
Nope – I find this dish works equally well with a good quality Gin (just make sure it isn’t super botanical or flavoured) or even Blanco Tequila (it must be high quality 100% agave with a clean taste). You could use white wine too – preferably a buttery Chardonnay. If you cannot consume alcohol then you could swap it for a splash of chicken or vegetable stock.
I love this sauce best with Mezzi Rigatoni but most pasta shapes will work, including penne, fusilli or even spaghetti.
The sauce is Gluten Free already, so just choose a suitable GF pasta and GF sausages.
Yes, swap out the cream for a dairy-free alternative.
Any good quality, non-flavoured vodka. You don’t need to go all out but use something which you would be happy to serve to guests. Something like Smirnoff or Skyy.
Yes – I have used a neutral tasting Gin, good quality Blanco Tequila and white wine which all work well. If you don’t consume alcohol then swap in 50ml of chicken or vegetable stock.
With lashings of parmesan and some good garlic bread to mop up the sauce (because you won’t want to miss a drop).
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
Looking for more delicious pasta dishes? Try one of these:
- Rich Beef Shin Ragu with Red Wine
- Sausage and Mushroom Pasta with Rocket
- One-Pot Chorizo Pasta with Peppers
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Vodka Pasta with Sausage
- Large frying pan
- Pasta Pot
- 2 pork sausages Ideally Fennel or Italian Style*
- 200 grams your favourite pasta shapes I love Mezzi Rigatoni or Penne for this recipe
- 150 ml good quality tomato passata
- 150 ml double or heavy cream
- 1 shallot or small white onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 tbsp good quality vodka
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Slit and peel the skins from the sausages and discard them.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the sausage meat to the pan and break it up with the back of a spoon to very small pieces. Stir occasionally until the meat is browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside.
- As the sausage is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan you used to cook the sausage, and add the shallot to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes until it begins to soften but don't let it burn.
- Add the garlic to the onions then pour over the vodka. Give it a stir then turn the heat to low and let the vodka cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions – you want it to be al dente, so aim for the lower end of the timing on the packet.
- Pour the passata over the onions, garlic and vodka and stir well. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, then stir in half of the cream. Let it bubble for a minute, then stir in the rest of the cream.
- Let it simmer very gently on the lowest heat for another 3-4minutes, until the pasta is almost ready, then stir in the cooked sausage crumbles.
- Drain the pasta (reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta water) and stir into the sauce. Use some of the reserved pasta water if you feel you need to loosen the sauce a little.
- Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and some fresh chopped basil or parsley.