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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!

overhead photo of One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta

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.

prep photo of pasta before baking

(I do half with sausage and half without!)

The idea.

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.

pasta before baking

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!

overhead photo of One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta

Moving along…

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.

Love this!

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.

side angle photo of cheese being pulled out of pan

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.

DELICIOUS.

overhead close up photo of One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza 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!

One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta on serving plate with fork

Looking for other easy family dinners? Here are my favorites: 

One Pot Lemon Rosemary Dijon Chicken and Butter Toasted Rice Pilaf

Instant Pot Spicy Pineapple Chicken Tacos

Creamy Bacon Tortellini with Charred Broccoli

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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 8
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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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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!
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Comments

  1. Hi Tieghan!

    What size pot would you recommend? I’m making this for NYE and want to make sure I’m prepared with the right baking dish! I have a staub pan and also a staub dutch oven.. so I’m debating on doing everything in the dutch oven and then transferring into the baking pan like you suggested..

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Kelsey,
      I would recommend using at least a 7 quart pot. I hope you love the recipe. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    I made this last night. I didn’t have any Fontina or Parmesan so I used pepper jack and mozzarella and it was great!! My husbands favorite so far.

  3. 3 stars
    I made this tonight using brown rice pasta. It turned out to be a pot of mush – and I did not overcook the pasta in the beginning. So a heads up to anyone wondering if a GF pasta will work in this recipe! Also, we found this recipe to be overwhelmingly cheesy (and we love cheese!) to the point where it was too rich. The flavor of this dish was amazing though, so I would simply cut down on the amount of cheese used. And for whatever reason, the pepperoni on top of my dish did not brown like in the photos shown. They sunk down into the cheese and just cooked in there.

    1. Hey Melanie,
      Thanks for trying the recipe, so sorry the brown rice pasta did not work out for you. Let me know if I can help in any way! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    This was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It took me about 1.25 hours, not 45 minutes, but I didn’t care. SO YUMMY!!!!!!!! Made it for dinner last night, and I’m looking forward to eating it for lunch all week. Thanks so much for all your fantastic recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this last week and we really like it! We live in a small town so I could not find Fontina cheese or the chicken sausage. I used pork breakfast sausage and Asiago cheese in place of the Fontina. I realized afterwards that the Asiago sun was supposed to be for the Parmesan, but it still turned out! My husband told me not to change anything next time we make it. But I would like to try it with fontina cheese and chicken sausage! Again, we made too much and I didn’t think it reheated well, though my husband had no problem with the leftovers! Will probably half the recipe next time!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is so delicious! Perfect for a winter dinner!! I ended up placing it under the broiler to get the cheese browned.

  7. 5 stars
    This was a big hit at dinner last night! Would never have thought to put all those flavors together! Thank you for the great recipe!

  8. 4 stars
    Very good!!! I don’t love fennel and didn’t have Italian sausage on hand so I omitted the two and it still turned out great with a ton of flavor! Love that it’s a true one pot recipe.

  9. This was delicious! I had to use sweet Italian sausage, but with all the spicy seasonings to balance it out, I think it actually worked. I used radiatori pasta which was perfect, Rao’s marinara, Porzio’s roasted garlic basil pesto, and Firefly Classic Vodka. It turned out absolutely amazing, although I need to hit the gym today. 😉 The only note I want to make is that the directions say to top with the cheeses, but from watching your video, I stirred in the torn mozzarella pieces, then put the shredded fontina and grated parm on top. Either way, can’t go wrong with cheese. Thanks for the delicious recipe! Leftovers were just as amazing reheated!

    1. Hey Rana,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  10. Made this for our family Christmas Eve dinner – it was amazing!! Thank you, may be our new tradition! Easy and so delicious and festive!! Thank you!

    1. Hey Ana,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Probably the best pasta dish I’ve ever made! My husband balked when I used 1/2 c of his Tito’s but got over it when he tasted the finished product ? I used spicy pork sausage and ended up needing about 2 additional cups of water to get the pasta cooked. I sautéed veggies separately and served them in the individual bowls with the pasta. Yum! Thank you!!

    1. Hey Heather,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious! Gone so fast I couldn’t get a picture!! Everyone went back for seconds! Putting this in my “go-to” pile of recipes!! Woo!

    1. Hey Susan,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you. Happy Holidays! xTieghan