Gnocchi in a Vodka Cream Sauce

  • Author: The Kitchen Whisperer

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  • Ingredients
  • 1 pound of gnocchi (I prefer homemade but you can use store bought fresh gnocchi)
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vodka – you can use the cheaper stuff but if you’re making vodka sauce, then indulge and break out the Grey Goose!
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes – or 1 (28 oz tomato puree if you’re not into chunks like me!)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (you can substitute half and half – regular milk will make it too thin and you won’t get that ‘creaminess’ texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil chopped up (you can sliver it for presentation) but a tad more for serving
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese *Only use 1/4 cup if you’re using Asiago too
  • If you want an extra kick you could add a 1/4 cup of Asiago as well (shredded)


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened ~about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic until you can ‘smell’ it release it’s aroma (about another minute).
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir. This is probably the most important step to pasta sauce making. You *almost* want to just burn the tomato paste. Mix it with the onions and garlic and once you smell the tomato paste cooking (trust me, you will smell it). If you burn it, start all over. Honestly, at a medium-high heat this will take about 3-5 minutes at most.
  5. Add the can of tomatoes, juice and all.
  6. Now I’m finicky and have an issue with *chunks* in my food. The immersion blender is my best friend. You can skip this step but if you have an aversion to chunks, use your immersion blender until the sauce is chunk-free.
  7. Add in the vodka and reduce to medium heat.
  8. Let it cook for about 5-8 minutes or until the vodka has evaporated.
  9. While this is cooking, start your pasta water. Boil about 5 quarts of water.
  10. Add your gnocchi and add about 1 teaspoon of salt.
  11. Gnocchi take roughly 5-7 minutes to boil. They, just like ravioli, float when they are done.
  12. As soon as you drop the gnocchi, add the cream, red pepper flakes and salt to the vodka sauce.
  13. Stir and as soon as the sauce starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low.
  14. Cook the sauce until thickened (about 5 minutes).
  15. Remove the gnocchi and drain reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  16. Taste your sauce and adjust the seasonings (salt/pepper)
  17. Stir in the basil and cheeses.
  18. Add the gnocchi to the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce it too thick, add the reserved pasta water to thin to liking.
  19. To serve top with some basil leaves and shredded Asiago
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