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Red Pepper Vodka Sauce

Servings 4


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces one small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped basil for serving


  • Roast your red pepper (unless you've simply bought roasted red peppers already). Remove the stem, inside veins, and seeds from the bell pepper. Cut in fourths. Rub a little olive oil over a baking pan and place the peppers on the pan, cut side down. Cook under the broiler until the skins become charred looking, about 6-8 minutes for me. I find that broilers are all a little different, so keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  • Once you remove them from the oven, place in a plastic bag (or reusable bag of some kind). Seal and let them steam for a couple of minutes. Once they are just cool enough to handle, remove the bags and peel off the skins.
  • Go ahead and begin boiling water for your pasta now.
  • Finely chop the roasted pepper, onion, and mince the garlic. In a large sauce pan, add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until it softens well. Then add the roasted pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Then add the vodka and cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste.
  • Then stir in the cream and cheese. The mixture will be pretty thick at this point. Once the pasta has cooked, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and add it to the sauce.
  • Serve over the warm pasta with some chopped basil.


You can store this sauce for up to a week in a seal container in the refrigerator. If you plan to store it longer, I would recommend freezing the sauce.