I love finding inspiration on tiktok for recipes and this Gigi Hadid pasta is no exception. Back in 2020, Gigi Hadid posted a penne alla vodka recipe on her instagram, which exploded and left a lasting impression.
That’s because there’s so many reasons to love vodka sauce.
If you’re scared that your sauce will taste like vodka, trust me on this one, you’ll be so pleasantly surprised. The vodka adds an acidity, that is unique and so powerful.
So next time you’re at a party, hide that last swig of vodka to make your new favourite sauce.
In my opinion, the Gigi Hadid pasta blew up due to the addition of vodka, as it’s so surprising. You can actually make ‘vodka sauce without vodka’ and it’s still super delicious – just add some lemon juice or a tbsp of distilled vinegar to add some acidity, if you omit the vodka.
For an intense cheesy, umami hit.
Gigi actually uses heavy cream, but I think with the addition of parmesan, the sauce is rich enough with single cream.
Tomato paste is essential for this spicy vodka sauce recipe! I wouldn’t substitute canned tomatoes or passata as the end result will be a lot different.
Feel free to use red onion (as she does) or shallots. I prefer white onions in this recipe though and with the traditional penne alla vodka, they use white onions I believe.
A garlicky hit is definitely needed in this sauce. Feel free to up the garlic quantity, if you’re an intense garlic fan – this sauce can handle it.
Many vodka sauce recipes are spicy traditionally, but if you’re not a fan of spice, you can omit the chili flakes and substitute with red pepper flakes or leave out completely.
The original vodka sauce recipe was ‘penne alla vodka’ so fusilli to some may seem inauthentic. I think you can just choose your favourite pasta shape here though.
I love fusilli, as it incorporates into the sauce so well and it has the perfect fork pick-up (if that makes sense, lol)? With Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe, she uses shells.
You can top with parsley or basil of a fresh herby kick at the end.
Start by finely dicing the onions on a chopping board.
In a large/deep frying pan, add the extra-virgin olive oil and diced onion, along with the chilli flakes. Season with salt and saute for 5 minutes on a medium/low heat.
Next, add the tomato puree into the pan. Continue to fry on a low heat, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, add your pasta to heavily salted water setting your timer to 2 minutes, minus the packet time.
After the tomato puree has been frying for around 5 minutes it should have darkened in colour. At this point, add the garlic to fry for a minute or two, before adding two ladles of pasta water. Stir to combine.
Add the vodka into the pan and increase the heat to medium/high to cook off. Once the liquid is cooked off, reduce the heat to low.
Ensuring the pan isn’t too hot, add the cream and parmesan. Stir to combine and when your pasta timer goes off, transfer the drained pasta into the pan (reserving the pasta water). Loosen the sauce with another ladle of pasta water (or more if needed) as you stir the pasta into the vodka sauce. Cook until the pasta is perfectly al dente and incorporated in the sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and an optional extra sprinkle of chilli flakes.
This recipe doesn’t need to be spicy, feel free to omit the chilli flakes and sub with red pepper flakes or leave out all together. Black pepper would be a nice peppery hit at the finish too!
To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute with a vegetarian parmesan.
Substitute the cream with an unsweetened plant-based cream alternative.
Vodka sauce without vodka
As mentioned above, you can actually make ‘vodka sauce without vodka’ and it’s still super delicious – just add some lemon juice or a tbsp of distilled vinegar to add some acidity if you omit the vodka.
Bloom chilli flakes
Add the chilli flakes into the pan to saute with the onions. This will get the most flavour out of your chilli flakes.
Cook the tomato paste
You might think that I say to cook the tomato paste for too long but this cook time is really needed. You can add a splash of pasta water if you get too much sticking but you really want to cook the pasta until it richens & darkens in colour to get the best end result. Keep the heat low and cook whilst your pasta simmers away.
Heavily salt the pasta water
We want our pasta to be seasoned before it even touches our vodka sauce.
Reserve the starchy pasta water
Most of the volume of sauce for the Gigi Hadid pasta comes from the pasta water, so make sure you reserve enough before draining your pasta!
Is this recipe healthy?
I serve this recipe with a portion of kale to add micronutrients. I would say this recipe is more of a treat, but it isn’t necessarily unhealthy if you pair it with a side of greens for balance. I make some ingredient swaps to make the dish lighter, which means it’s a little bit healthier than the recipe posted by Gigi. That’s only so I can have it way more often though!
Can I reheat this recipe?
Absolutely! It might dry out slightly as you reheat, so add a tbsp of water before heating in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, or on the stove-top on a low heat for around 5 minutes. Top with fresh parsley/chilli flakes and enjoy! Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze this recipe?
You can! Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Is this recipe the exact replica of Gigi’s pasta?
The essence is the same, but no it’s not a replica! I used less ingredients, to keep the cost down and also switched some ingredients to make it a little healthier. I don’t use butter or heavy cream, but feel free to add/substitute these!