Spicy Vodka Pasta with Shrimp

It combines the heat of the chili flakes with the smooth, rich and velvety vodka sauce that will leave you begging for more. It has few simple ingredients and anyone can throw these together as there’s not much technique required. A crowd pleaser every time…

Traditionally you don’t have shrimp in a vodka sauce but I love adding it for some additional protein, plus the flavours all work incredibly well together.

Why do we use vodka? There are actually a few reasons!

  • It has a neutral flavour so it helps mellow out the acidity of the tomato sauce and adds to the smooth, creamy texture
  • It helps deglaze the pan
  • It breaks down the other ingredients and helps to release their flavours, creating a more complex sauce

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Spicy Vodka Pasta with Shrimp

This Spicy Vodka Pasta with Shrimp is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire…
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Serves 2


  • ½ lb pasta of your choice I like using mafaldine pasta
  • ½ lb raw shrimp deveined
  • ½ onion chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1-2 tsp chili flakes depending on how spicy you like it
  • Salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 shots 4 oz Vodka
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 3 knobs butter
  • ½ cup parmesan


  • Clean and devein raw shrimp and pat dry. Hit with some olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.Boil some water in a large pot, heavily salt and then add in pasta.
  • In a pan over medium heat, add some olive oil and sear the shrimp for 30 seconds on each side. Remove and set to the side for later.
  • In the same pan, add in a touch more olive oil and two knobs of butter. Reduce the heat slightly and sautée onion, garlic, chili flakes and a pinch of salt for about 2 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  • Add in tomato paste, stir, and let this cook for about 3 minutes so the tomato paste darkens slightly.
  • Add in vodka to deglaze and stir well. Let this cook for a few minutes (you’ll know the alcohol has cooked out when you smell the sauce and your nostrils do not burn). Add the heavy cream, some pasta water, a knob of butter and parmesan and stir to create a perfectly velvety sauce.
  • Al dente pasta goes right into the sauce and let the sauce coat each noodle. Add more pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Garnish with parmesan and basil.

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