Garlic Confit Pasta alla Vodka

I can guarantee that this plate of pasta will have you weak at the KNEES.

Thought not traditional, the garlic confit adds such a complexity of flavours to the super creamy and delicious vodka sauce. It’s familiar, but then has this new rich depth to it that will have you moaning bite after bite.

I made it for my husband for a date night in and he absolutely freaked out. He kept talking about how the garlic confit made the sauce even better. I made it again the very next night it was that good!

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to elevate a pasta dish. It’s a crowd pleaser and you don’t need to be an experienced cook to make it!

garlic confit pasta alla vodka

How to make the Garlic Confit

Stovetop Method

Cookware Needed:

Method:

  • Place peeled garlic cloves in the saucepan and pour enough oil over them to cover completely.
  • Cook on the lowest possible heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the cloves are tender.
Oven Method

Cookware Needed:

  • An oven-safe dish, such as a ceramic baking dish or a cast-iron skillet.
  • Aluminum foil or a lid to cover the dish.

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to a low temperature, around 250°F (120°C).
  • Place garlic cloves in the dish, cover with oil, and then cover the dish with foil or a lid.
  • Bake in the oven for about 1 to 2 hours, until the cloves are soft.
garlic cloves submerged in olive oil with fresh thyme

Tips for Peeling Garlic for the Garlic Confit:

Shaking Method
  1. Jar Shaking: Place the garlic cloves in a large jar, close the lid tightly, and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. The skins will often come loose and can be easily removed.
Crushing Method
  1. Knife: Lay the flat side of a chef’s knife over a clove of garlic and hit the knife gently but firmly with the heel of your hand to crush the clove slightly, which will make the skin come off more easily.
Soaking Method
  1. Warm Water: Soak the garlic cloves in warm water for 5-10 minutes. This can help to loosen the skins.
  2. Microwave: Place the cloves in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This will cause the cloves to steam slightly, making the skins easier to remove.
Cutting Method
  1. Trim the Ends: Cutting off the root end of each clove can make it easier to peel the skin away. This is my preferred method.

How to make Garlic Confit Pasta alla Vodka

Let’s go step-by-step and dig into how to make this perfect plate of pasta:

Step One:

Peel all of the garlic and place into either a small roasting pot or a small/medium saucepan. Pour olive oil over the garlic cloves (enough to cover them) and add a fresh sprig of thyme. 

garlic cloves submerged in olive oil with fresh thyme - after being slow cooked
Step Two:

You can cook this over the stove on the lowest heat for 30 min-1 hr (or until cloves are tender), but be mindful that you want it to simmer gently, not fry. You could also cook in the oven on 250 degrees, covered, for 1-2 hours (or until cloves are tender).

garlic confit oil
Step Three:

Once tender, remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and mash. Set this garlic to the side for later when we’re making our vodka sauce. Also save the olive oil!

mashed garlic confit in a mortar and pestle
Step Four:

Bring some water to a boil in a large pot, heavily salt and add pasta of your choice. Cook according to package instructions until al dente! We’re going to make the sauce as the pasta cooks.

Step Five:

Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat, add a few tbsp of the garlic oil. After this has heated, add in finely chopped onion and sautée for about 2 minutes until softened.

all of the prep for the garlic confit pasta alla vodka
Step Six:

Add tomato paste and stir for another 2 minutes. 

tomato paste cooking in the sautee pan
Step Seven:

Deglaze the pan with vodka and stir to combine. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the alcohol has cooked off.

Step Eight: 

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the mashed garlic confit, a pinch of the crushed red pepper flakes (to your liking), and then the heavy cream. Stir until everything is combined.

garlic confit creamy vodka sauce
Step Nine:

Bring the al dente pasta directly into the sauce along with some of the starchy pasta water (start with ½ cup and use more if needed!)

Step Ten: 

Increase the heat to medium and continue to stir so that pasta gets nice and coated with the sauce! Finish with parmesan.

garlic confit pasta alla vodka

Substitutions:

  • For a lighter version, swap the heavy cream for half-and-half or even a rich unsweetened plant-based cream.
  • Vodka can be omitted for those avoiding alcohol – the dish still retains its charm without it.
  • Any pasta will do, though the mini farfalle is perfect for capturing the sauce in its wings.

How to store the Garlic Confit:

Garlic confit can be stored in its oil in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – works SO great for a make ahead condiment. The vodka sauce, however, is best enjoyed fresh. If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and gently reheat, adding a splash of cream to bring back the sauce’s velvety texture!

garlic confit pasta alla vodka plated up with parmesan on top

 

If you end up trying this recipe out, please tag me @britacooks on social media so I can see your lovely creations!

Shop this dish

garlic confit pasta alla vodka

Garlic Confit Pasta alla Vodka

This may just be the best pasta I’ve ever tasted. The creamy, sweet and mellow garlic confit pairs so well with the luxurious vodka sauce and it’s all tied together with perfectly al dente pasta. The flavours are SO complex yet the dish is SO easy to make. An absolute CROWD PLEASER.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Serves 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • ½ small onion chopped finely
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp vodka
  • red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ lb pasta I used mini farfalle
  • parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Peel all of the garlic and place into either a small roasting pot or a small/medium saucepan. Pour olive oil over the garlic cloves (enough to cover them) and add a fresh sprig of thyme.
  • You can cook this over the stove on the lowest heat for 30 min-1 hr (or until cloves are tender), but be mindful that you want it to simmer gently, not fry. You could also cook in the oven on 250 degrees, covered, for 1-2 hours (or until cloves are tender).
  • Once tender, remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and mash. Set this garlic to the side for later when we’re making our vodka sauce. Also save the olive oil!
  • Bring some water to a boil in a large pot, heavily salt and add pasta of your choice. Cook according to package instructions until al dente! We’re going to make the sauce as the pasta cooks.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat, add a few tbsp of the garlic oil. After this has heated, add in finely chopped onion and sautée for about 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add tomato paste and stir for another 2 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with vodka and stir to combine. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the alcohol has cooked off.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the mashed garlic confit, a pinch of the crushed red pepper flakes (to your liking), and then the heavy cream. Stir until everything is combined.
  • Bring the al dente pasta directly into the sauce along with some of the starchy pasta water (start with ½ cup and use more if needed!)
  • Increase the heat to medium and continue to stir so that pasta gets nice and coated with the sauce! Finish with parmesan.

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