This One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta is for nights when you’re craving a really great pizza from your favorite pizzeria, but can’t decide if you’d rather just make pasta at home. Enter this pizza pasta. Pasta baked in a spicy tomato pesto vodka sauce that’s creamy, herby, and so delicious! The key to this pasta is a house style “pizza seasoning” with pepperonis on top. This is a great easy pasta dish to serve any night of the week. It’s delicious and looks pretty on any table…not to mention everyone LOVES a GOOD pizza and baked pasta. It’s is the best of both worlds!
Happy Christmas week everyone! I’m hearing one of two things from you guys right now. Either a totally chill week with less work and fun holiday prep, or complete craziness with kids home, last-minute gift buying, present wrapping, and holiday dinner prep too.
Can you guys guess what we’ve got over here?
Complete craziness? Yes, 100%. But It’s OK! It just wouldn’t be the holidays without a little craziness. Craziness is a Gerard Family Christmas.
Which brings me right to this pizza pasta. It’s a mix of so many delicious flavors, and yet, it’s so easy to make.
(I do half with sausage and half without!)
All weekend long I was scratching my head on just what to share today. I knew many of you might be looking for a delicious dinner to serve this week and I knew that time might be tight.
It’s the same for me here and with my brothers and cousins home for Christmas, that means family-style dinners.
Originally, I was going to share something else, but after a quick phone call with my mom, she inspired me to switch gears after her mention of pepperoni. We love pepperonis and while we love them on pizza, I think we love them even more on pasta. Pepperoni on a pasta bake is my dad’s signature. If you’ve never done it, I am excited to introduce you!
This is everything we love about a pepperoni pizza, but minus the pizza dough and plus an alla vodka style red sauce and pasta.
The details…hint, they’re quick.
Start off by making the sauce. It’s very important with this recipe to use a large pot, bigger than you’d think you might need. Because we’re making the sauce and cooking the pasta together, you’ll need extra room. So be sure to use your largest pot available.
Next, the sauce. It’s made with lots of garlic and herbs, aka my “pizza seasoning” blend, marinara sauce, vodka (for best flavor), and pesto. The herbs and vodka are key here, but I do want to say, if vodka’s not your thing, I totally understand. In this case, just swap the vodka for chicken broth or even just water. Either one will work totally fine and your sauce will still be great.
But, if you’re ok with using alcohol for cooking, you must add vodka to your sauce. The vodka adds a sharp bite that helps to balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes. When used in small amounts, the vodka will boost and intensify the aroma of the sauce. The key is to slow simmer the sauce, which will release the flavors and cook out the alcohol. So yes, this is safe to serve to kids!
Since I wanted to keep it quick and simple, I set out to make this a one-pot pasta. What does this mean? Well, it’s simple, everything from making the sauce, to boiling the pasta is all done in just one pot, on the stove-top, before being transferred to the oven to finish baking. If you have oven-safe pots, you don’t even need to transfer the pasta to a baking dish.
Once the base red sauce has been made, simply add the water and dry pasta right into the red sauce. May seem odd, but trust me, it works.
Just top with cheese, lots of pepperoni, and fresh basil, then bake! It’s the simplest.
As this bakes away you’ll smell all those herbs, the sauce will be bubbling, and the cheese will melt into golden deliciousness.
Pull it out of the oven and the top looks like an extra cheesy pizza, but underneath you have saucy pasta.
I have no idea what I’m cooking up this week, still trying to finish up Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, but they’ll be lots of cooking…and I’m sure cocktail making involved. Since my brothers have yet to try this pizza pasta dish, I’m making it again tonight.
With everyone here, pasta bakes are essential. Fingers crossed they’ll love this one as much as I do…but I have a very good feeling about it!
That’s all from me today! Enjoy some pizza pasta this week!
Looking for other easy family dinners? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta, 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 tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta.
Calories Per Serving: 525 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds use to your taste
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup vodka (chicken broth or water also work)
- 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 1 pound dry short cut pasta
- 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella, torn
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
- 3 ounces pepperoni sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
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- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken sausage (if using) and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, thyme, fennel, and chili flakes, cook another 3-5 minutes, until very fragrant. Add the marinara sauce, vodka, pesto, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Then add 2 1/2 cups water and the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. 3. If needed, transfer the pasta to a baking dish. Top with the cheeses, then pepperoni. Sprinkle the basil over top.4. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh rosemary. Enjoy!