These heat waves in New York are serious! And I have been avoiding the oven as much as I can. So it’s mostly been stovetop meals and salad. Which is actually a perfect problem to have, because PASTA! It’s easy, delicious and can be made in a pinch, all on the stove. So let’s talk Spinach Pasta Alla Vodka!
Sign me up for any thing that has vodka in it and especially pasta! This is my variation of a pasta alla vodka sauce. The vodka is not very distinguishable, but it elevates and brings out the flavors of this sauce. Pasta with vodka sauce is pretty simple, but I love the addition of spinach. There’s an Albanian dish called, “Pite Me Spinaq.” It’s basically thin layers of crispy cooked dough (like filo dough,) with a middle layer of creamy spinach and leeks. This pasta dish give me those same vibes and it is so delicious! My mom’s pite recipe is the best! And I will definitely get around to sharing it with you guys!
Whenever there’s a chance to add spinach in a dish, I most likely will. And in this pasta, it really pairs well with the onions and shallots that I also add. To keep this sauce smooth and velvety, I like to grate my onions, garlic and shallots and sauté them with a pinch of salt to draw out the moisture. Personally, I don’t like a chunky vodka sauce. I used ziti pasta for this dish, but you can use whatever pasta you have on hand. This works great with a classic penne shape, bow tie or any cylindrical noodle.
- Grated Onion, garlic & shallot.
- Heavy Cream.
- Reserved pasta water. Removed when the pasta is almost done cooking
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggianno cheese. Pre-grated will also do.
- Crushed red pepper. Adds a nice bit of heat.
- 5 oz bag of spinach.
Spinach Pasta Alla Vodka
- 12 inch fry pan or Cast-Iron Skillet
- 1 lb ziti or your pasta preference
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion grated
- 3 cloves garlic grated
- 1 tbsp shallot grated
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 oz tomato paste
- ¼ cup vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1+¼ cup pasta water
- ⅓+2 tbsp cup parmigiano reggiano grated
- 1 5 oz bag of spinach
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- Cook your pasta according to the instruction of the box. I like to cook mine 2 minutes shy of al dente and finish in the sauce.
- While the pasta in boiling away, Add the oil to your pan on medium heat. Add your onion, garlic, shallot and salt. Sauté for about 1-2 minutes.
- Now, add your tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add your vodka and stir to combine.
- Add in your heavy cream and pasta water. Once the sauce starts to simmer, turn the heat down to low and add in crushed red pepper and 1/3 cup of cheese. Stir to combine.
- Add your pasta to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the spinach & butter. Fold it into the pasta. Once the spinach has shrunk, serve and top with parsley and the remaining parmigiano-reggiano (optional.) Enjoy!
- Pasta water helps to thicken the sauce. A lot of the starches release while the pasta cooks. It also flavors it as well. That’s why it’s important to generously salt your water before adding in the pasta to boil.
- If your sauce is too thick, just add some more pasta water.
- Spinach shrinks pretty fast. Once the heat is off, I fold the spinach in and the sauce will cook it pretty quickly.
- If you don’t like spicy foods, you can omit the crushed red pepper.