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Spicy Vodka Sauce with Sausage

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Savory, creamy, spicy vodka sauce that wraps perfectly around pasta for the most delicious weekend or holiday meal.


  • 1 pound bulk spicy sausage
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 28 ounces canned crushed or diced tomatoes (1 large can)
  • 14 ounces water (fill the tomato can halfway)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces short-cut pasta (cooked to al dente with some of the pasta water reserved before draining)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and a large ovenproof skillet with a lid to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes, crumbling it as you go.
  2. When the sausage is browned, crumbly, and cooked through, add the onion, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir into the sausage for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. If the skillet seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. When the onion is soft, add the vodka to the skillet. Stir to deglaze the pan, and allow the vodka to bubble for a few minutes and reduce in volume by half.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, water, salt, and sugar to the skillet. Turn the heat OFF and stir to combine. Cover the skillet, and place in the oven. Roast the sauce for thirty minutes to one hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so to ensure the sauce doesn't burn. During this time I cook and drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and get out parmesan, fresh herbs, bread, etc.
  5. When the sauce has roasted, it should be dark in color with some of the moisture reduced. Remove it carefully from the oven and stir + taste + add a few pinches of salt. Add the pasta and cream to the sauce, stir to combine. If the sauce has reduced too much, add some splashes of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Taste the dish one more time and add more salt if needed.
  6. Serve immediately with parmesan, extra red pepper flakes, and anything else you'd like. Enjoy!


Use any type of short cut pasta you like for this!

If you prefer for this to not be spicy, buy sweet Italian sausage in bulk, or in links and remove the casing before cooking and crumbling.

Roasting: to ensure that the sauce doesn't burn, check it every once in awhile. There is a wide range (30-60 minutes) of roasting time to account for different ovens, pans, and moisture content in tomatoes. The sauce should be reduced and dark in color but not charred or burned.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Spicy sausage vodka sauce, vodka sauce with sausage, spicy vodka sauce, vodka cream sauce