Everyone needs a recipe that you can put together quickly, in advance, that will feed a crowd. Of course it also needs to be out of this world delicious. This baked spaghetti alla vodka recipe is going to be your new best friend. I’ve made it several times for those nights when I either don’t have time to cook or I want to be able to just put dinner in the oven and talk with family or friends. I get so many requests for this recipe, I thought it was time to share the recipe for this creamy pasta dish.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a good friend was coming through but was only going to be around on Tuesday night, but I had to work on Tuesday, so I made pasta with vodka sauce on Sunday evening and put it in the refrigerator before baking. Then on Tuesday night, I put it in the oven when I got home from work and dinner was ready.
This makes enough to feed twelve, so I put some of it in individual ramekins for later. You can half the recipe if you’re not serving twelve, but I suggest making the entire batch and dividing it into two baking dishes and just freeze one of them for later. This recipe is similar to Baked Pasta alla Vodka but with a few shortcuts that will save you a lot of time and you won’t give up too much flavor.
Why use a vodka sauce
While I can’t explain exactly why or how, adding vodka to a tomato sauce helps release the acids from the tomatoes and brings out their flavor. It also adds a distinct taste to the sauce. The alcohol will not cook out completely, you would have to cook it for three hours for all of the alcohol to evaporate. If that is an issue for you, then you will need to use a different type of sauce. It won’t have the unique flavor of a vodka sauce, but the dish will still be delicious if you use a marinara sauce.
INGREDIENTS you will need
- Italian sausage
- fresh basil
- prepared vodka cream sauce
- ricotta cheese
- parmesan cheese
- mozzarella cheese
If you have an Italian market close by then stop there to get all your ingredients. There is nothing better than the ricotta and sausage that I get at our Italian market, Giacomo’s. They also carry fresh pasta and an amazing vodka cream sauce. If you’re not so fortunate, just get the best quality you can find, I normally go to Fresh Market if the Italian market is closed. Rao’s is the brand of vodka sauce that I like which you can find at most groceries.
How do you make Baked Spaghetti alla vodka
Step 1: Brown the sausage then add onion and cook until soft. Then add garlic, fresh basil and prepared vodka cream sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Cook the pasta al dente and place in a large bowl with half of the ricotta and parmesan cheese.
Combine so that it melts and coats the pasta then add the cooked sausage mixture along with the rest of the ricotta and parmesan and mix all together. Top with mozzarella.
Step 3: Bake or refrigerate until ready to bake. It will save for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
If you have a little more time, make your own vodka cream sauce, it’s very easy but it will need to simmer for about forty minutes.
What type of pasta should you use with a vodka cream sauce
For this dish, I like using bucatini pasta which is a thick spaghetti like pasta. By using spaghetti instead of penne which is a tubular pasta, you can cut the baked spaghetti into squares for serving. Since this is a thicker noodle it absorbs the creamy sauce really well. If I can’t get fresh pasta, I like this imported bucatini. Make sure you cook the pasta al dente since it is going to bake for 45 minutes. For a guide on all pasta shapes, check here.
MORE PASTA dishes
- Try a one pot meal with Taco Spaghetti
- Penne with Italian Sausage and Artichokes is a delicious combination
- If you have a bit more time, make a Sunday Sauce
- I always love Stuffed Shells
Are you looking for more MAKE AHEAD RECIPES
- Brisket with Mac & Cheese if you need some comfort food
- A pot of Short Rib Chili will freeze well and is great for Game Day
- Coq au Vin in the slow cooker, is great to come home to
If you make baked spaghetti alla vodka be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I would love to see your creation.
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Baked Spaghetti alla Vodka
- 1 lb sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- 16 ounces prepared vodka cream sauce 2 cups
- 1 lb bucatini pasta
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese grated
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Heat a large skillet over high. Remove casings from sausages and add to the pan breaking apart as they cook. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and salt and pepper and cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add fresh basil and garlic and cook an additional minute. Add prepared vodka sauce and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the sausage is cooking, cook pasta in salted water until it is al dente. Drain.
- In a large bowl, combine half of the ricotta and half of the parmesan along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the hot pasta and toss to coat. Add the sausage mixture and mix well. Ad the remaining ricotta and parmesan and mix. Pour into a very large baking dish or 2 smaller ones and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes.
- Can be refrigerated before baking for 2-3 days. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and let warm to room temperature before baking.