Recipe for Cavatappi Alla Vodka

Ready to get cozy this season? Try a bowl of this robust, tangy, and creamy pasta! This recipe is a great way to include some greens and plant proteins into this sure-to-become comfort food!  

★★★☆☆ 2.9/5 (14)  

“Wonderful! Changed my life! I love this pasta more than my family!” 

Hey guys! Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I’ve been going through some stuff at home. But no worries! I’m back today with this totally AWESOME pasta recipe that your family is sure to love, and it comes together in just 40-70 minutes!  

This is a recipe I started making when I just had gotten out of college. I was living with a few college friends, and found I was struggling to get anything but carbs in my diet. I started making this because 1. It serves a lot 2. It is, in my opinion, the best way to eat mushrooms. Because of the large batch sizes, I would make this as a meal to share with my housemates and it would last nearly all week! My girlfriends, especially my dear friend, Rachel, insisted that I made this for everyone at least twice a month.  

When I met my husband, I was greeted with the same sentiments by him. I actually made this the first night I ever cooked dinner for him! From there on, every time he could make a dinner request it was always for this. His birthday, Father’s Day, even our anniversary. He always wanted this!  

Safe to say, it was no surprise when Rachel reached out to me a few months ago to ask for the recipe for herself. There was a new man in her life, and she knew this recipe is what she needed to really woo him. This recipe truly seals the deal in any relationship, even if the other person is already married! 

Prep Time: ~20 minutes  

Cook time: between 30-50 minutes, depending on how good you are at multitasking  


  • 1 box cavatappi pasta (or pasta shape of your choosing, penne and shells are also good) 
  • 1 6oz can/tube tomato paste  
  • Fresh or canned diced tomatoes (recommend fire roasted) about 2 roma tomatoes or one can  
  • 1-2 bags baby spinach  
  • 1-2 containers of mushrooms (whole or sliced)  
  • 1 16oz container heavy whipping cream  
  • 3-4 cloves garlic  
  • 1 shallot  
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder 
  • Vodka  
  • Oil (avocado or olive) and/or butter  


  1. Prepare 2 pans on medium to medium-high heat  
  2. While the pans are heating, start prep with dicing shallots and crushing or dicing garlic cloves. Rinse mushrooms (and slice if purchased whole)  
  3. Once pans are heated, add butter to one pan, and oil to the other  
  4. In the butter pan: add mushrooms, it is unlikely all of the mushrooms will fit in the first batch, thinly layer them and add more as they cook down. After the first layer of mushrooms are in the pan, season liberally with salt (storebought preferred, but extracted from tears is fine), pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.  
  5. In the oil pan: Add shallots, cook for around 10 minutes or until clear and aromatic 
  6. Start prepping pasta pot: In a large pot fill half way with water, salt, bring to a boil. Add pasta when boiling. Cook according to instructions on box  
  7. Returning to the mushroom pan, continue cooking on medium-medium high heat until all mushrooms are cooked and both crisp and chewy. When the mushrooms are finished, add handfuls of spinach to the pan, cover, repeat until all leaves are cooked soft. Remove from heat or keep warm on low. 
  8. Returning again to the shallots when cooked, add garlic and more oil if needed. Cook garlic for 1-2 minutes, add tomato paste and mix aromatics into paste. Allow paste mixture to cook down slightly, add vodka (1-2 ozs, or however much your heart desires, it will cook off). Think about making yourself a drink. Remember the kids are home. Make the drink anyway. Pour it down the sink.  
  9. Season with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste. Leave on medium heat and stir occasionally.  
  10. Once pasta has been cooking for several minutes, reserve half cup pasta water, (or add immediately to paste mixture if step 8 complete,) stir into paste mixture until smooth  
  11. After adding pasta water, add heavy whipping cream (I use the entire container, you may not have to, stir in a quarter container at a time if you’re unsure). Integrate paste fully into the cream. The sauce should be thick, creamy, and a salmon-pink color that is about the same color as the dress Rachel was wearing when you caught them together. Add a little more cream until you can’t see her in the pan. Realize you’ve added too much cream now and it will be tasteless. Wonder if that image will ever leave your mind, or if you can eat this pasta again, and if you still have the ability to cook like you did before he left.  
  12. Season sauce again with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and pepper flakes again.  
  13. Drain pasta, return pasta to pot.  
  14. Add sauce, mushroom spinach mix, and tomatoes to pasta. Recommended in that order.  
  15. Toss pasta with tongs or wooden spoons to mix in ingredients thoroughly. Serve plain or with fresh grated parmesan and additional red pepper flakes. Make yourself a bowl and realize it doesn’t taste the same as it used to. Enjoy!  

Raegan Gronseth is a junior studying Writing Intensive English. Raegan was inspired to write this piece because, “The pasta really is very good!”

American Foodways. Digital Library of Georgia.