How to make pasta with vodka according to an Italian chef?

“Make vodka pasta with me, while I’m punished at home for trying to book a helicopter with my dad’s credit card, because I wanted to go to dinner with my college friends in Maryland” :c is the title of the most commented cooking video of the year on TikTok. It is not a tutorial, but the act of rebellion of a certain Romy Mars, 17 years old, towards her parents, the director Sofia Coppola and the singer Thomas Mars, who had forbidden her from appearing on social networks. So to ensure that her fifteen minutes of fame were as sensational as possible, the young girl chose to cook the Internet’s favorite recipe: pasta alla vodka. Imagine a plate of penne generously coated in a creamy, glaze-like sauce, varying between pink and coral depending on the version. It’s the result of the combination of heavy cream and tomato sauce, a culinary aberration that would make almost any Italian cook scream. “I find this association interesting because the cream brings creaminess and roundness,” proclaims the friendly chef Gianmarco Gorni, whom the general public discovered in the eleventh season of “Top Chef” on M6. “And above all it reduces the acidity of canned tomato pulp, which we use in winter when the tomatoes no longer grow. »

According to versions, the recipe for pasta alla vodka was born at the Taverna Flavia in Rome, in the 1960s, or at the Dante restaurant in Bologna. Others claim that it appeared for the first time in 1974 in “L’Abbuffone”, the recipe book by Ugo Tognazzi, sacred monster of Italian comedy and hero of the film “La Grande Bouffe”. Still others are convinced that a chef of Italian origin invented “penne alla Russia” at the Orsini restaurant in New York in 1979, or that a brand of vodka would have encouraged cooks to use this alcohol in their dishes.


What we are sure of is that it is across the Atlantic, in the Italian-American community, that pasta alla vodka has become essential. Its trattorias, whose dishes could not be further from Italian culinary tradition, are now a pop culture phenomenon thanks to the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola or the cult series “The Sopranos”. Americans call these family-friendly and popular addresses, with their relative refinement, “red sauce joints”. Over the last ten years, they have experienced an incredible burst of popularity when one of them became the most popular restaurant in New York, where it is not uncommon to come across Leonardo DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Jay -Z, Jennifer Lopez or Adele. Her name ? Carbon. His signature dish? Rigatoni alla vodka, dense, generous, subtly spicy.

I love Italian-American food because it’s judgment-free

Following the “Carbon effect”, Gigi Hadid shook the Internet by sharing her own recipe for pasta alla vodka during the first confinement. It was the desire to offer this dish in Paris that gave Gianmarco Gorni the idea of ​​opening, at the top of a building in eastern Paris, a “red sauce joint” like in New York. In just a few weeks, Vecchio has become the most party address in the capital. The playlist is sexy, the lights are subdued, the Negroni and Dirty Martinis flow freely, the atmosphere rises from minute to minute and each service ends with dancing on the tables. The menu is uninhibited: fried olives, arancini with mayo and cheddar, lemon pourtague bucatini, generous meatballs, chicken parm, pineapple pizza on sunny days… “Transalpine cuisine is already well represented in Paris , I knew I could never become the best Italian chef in town, jokes Gianmarco. I love Italian-American cuisine because I find it freer, less limited than Italian cuisine because you can allow yourself to reinterpret the classics. She is non-judgmental. »


If pasta alla vodka has acquired Internet star status, it is because the rumor has spread on cooking blogs that it is the dish most likely to allow you to conclude during a first dinner in two. It is therefore a recipe for two people that the chef of Vecchio agreed to share with us: “I very finely slice 1/2 an onion which I sweat in a saucepan with 10 g of butter. When it is well preserved, I deglaze it with 2 tbsp. tablespoon of vodka. I flambé, I add 1 tbsp. tablespoon of tomato paste, I mix, I let it cook. I pour 220 g of canned tomato pulp and chili powder. I let it simmer gently with the heat at a minimum, for at least 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Some put the sauce in a blender, but I don’t. I add 1 good tbsp. tablespoons of heavy cream. Instead of penne, which is the pasta used in the classic recipe, I prefer Fusilli, which I prepare at home and which sticks to the sauce better. I cook them in a large volume of water: the rule is 200 g for two people, in 2 liters of water with 20 g of salt. I drain, I mix. I add a little basil, plenty of parmesan, it’s ready, at the table! »

Vecchio, 14, rue Crespin-du-Gast, Paris-11th

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health.

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