This Gigi Hadid Pasta recipe has become viral since 2020 and without a doubt, I am not surprised! Spicy vodka pasta tastes unbelievably good, it's basically a restaurant-quality meal. Make this pasta with or without vodka, you're gonna be blown away by the flavor!
This TikTok’s viral recipe truly deserves the hype, and will become your new favorite pasta dish! It’s an easy, cheesy fix that requires virtually no effort.
Since supermodel Gigi Hadid posted this recipe back in 2020 on her instagram (see her original instagram story here) it has been collecting so many raving fans and reviews, I decided to test this viral creamy tomato sauce recipe for myself.
I love how easy this is, make this pasta with or without vodka, regular or gluten free pasta.
Shell pasta is the best here and it’s what was in Gigi Hadid's original social media post but any small pasta pasta variety will be fine too. Small pasta equals more sauce stuck in pasta!
There are so many of you, different readers, here at the Yummy Bowl - some of you like to get straight to the recipe ingredients and instructions, and some of you love reading the full information with tips and tricks that I provide for the recipe.
There is a skip to recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
Essentially pasta dishes don’t require many ingredients, yet they have so much flavor to it. This one is a keeper!
- Short Pasta - I used gluten free pasta shells, I love the texture of it and how a looot of the sauce gets stuck in it perfectly. That was a great choice, thanks Gigi! Use your favorite small pasta variety. It holds up more tomato sauce and fills all the small holes and textures. My choices (although, not all of them are widely available as gluten free options, unfortunately): Fusilli, rotini, penne pasta, orecchiette, rigatoni, shell pasta, penne, farfalle (bowtie), conchiglie.
- The spicy vodka sauce - the sauce is so good that now I'm making it quite often and serve with pasta, rice and veggies. Not always with vodka, though!
- Onion - Gigi used red onion in her recipe, and is my preferred choice too! Red onion has a nice zing to it and a stronger onion flavor that tastes beautiful when cooked in tomato sauce and chili flakes. The combination is wild! My next up are shallots, well any brown/yellow onions are okay too.
- Parmesan Cheese - use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for delicious creamy sauce flavor.
- Tomato paste matters - it truly does! Good Tomato paste vs great high quality tomato paste will give different results in terms of rich tomato flavor and color. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just of a good quality.
- Vodka - the alcohol form vodka evaporates during cooking process and you will not taste any vodka here. Unless you go overboard with it ofcourse. This adds needed acidity but can be left out completely. if you can’t drink alcohol substitute it with pasta cooking water, vegetable broth, water, or more cooking cream. As Gigi was pregnant she didn’t add any vodka in her original instagram story recipe that time.
- Fresh herbs - parsley or fresh basil for garnish along with parmesan cheese.
Gigi Hadid’s spicy pasta alla vodka recipe is absolutely NOT complicated at all.
Moreover it is very much straight forward and requires just a few ingredients + 20 or so minutes. Easy peasy!
Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente, adding ½ teaspoon of salt to the water. Drain pasta but reserve ½-1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
Make the creamy tomato sauce. S
aute red onions in olive oil (I know, it’s a lot but this is what gives the beautiful flavor and texture to the pasta) in a large saucepan (or a medium dutch oven pot) over medium heat until they start to become soft.
Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add tomato paste. Stir the mixture until it's thoroughly combined and as Gigi recommends darker and a little bit caramelized.
Reduce the heat to low.
Slowly pour in the vodka, being careful if your stove has an open flame (remove the pan from the heat before adding).
In Gigi’s original version she says you can make it with vodka (as penne alla vodka recipe) but this time she didn’t add any and says it was still gooood.
Simmer until vodka is almost evaporated. About 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in the heavy cream, season with salt and black pepper, chili flakes. Stir to combine, then turn heat to the low simmer. Cook until creamy and starts to thicken but not yet completely.
Add the parmesan cheese and stiruntil melts completely. The sauce should start to thicken even more, it should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Now add cooked pasta to the spicy tomato sauce and gently stir to coat. Top with butter.
The sauce will be thick, you’ll need to add teh reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out slightly.
Add ½ cups of water or more to achieve the desired consistency. You’ll have to do it every time you reheat it (in case there’s some leftovers!).
Sprinkle more parmesan on top, fresh chopped basil, red pepper flakes and bkack pepper if desired.
Serve right away with side portion of green salad for a complete meal.
- Add salt when cooking the pasta - This helps increase the boiling point of the water while also adding a slight flavor to the pasta.
- It is essentially the penne alla vodka recipe just with another type of pasta. It has almost all the same ingredients and spice to it.
- With or Without Vodka - What Can you add instead of vodka to this pasta? Vodka adds some acidity to the dish, and all the alcohol evaporates during cooking.
- So, there’s no alcohol flavor to it! But this can be totally replaced with vodka substitutes to name a few: pasta cooking water, vegetable stock, a splash of vinegar or lemon juice, grape juice, and apple juice.
- Substitute penne pasta and you've got yourself the classic Italian 'penne alla vodka'
How can you make Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe a little more healthy?
This recipe is not the healthy one, indeed. However, there are a few ways you can make it a tiiiny bit healthier.
- Reduce oil to about 1 to 2 tablespoons when sauteing onions and garlic.
- Use a good quality virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
- Skip the butter in the end, it is an addition but not an essential ingredient. It makes the pasta creamier and smoother.
- Opt for a low-fat cooking cream, half and half, or go for a plant-based cooking cream instead.
- Add vegetables to your pasta and reduce the pasta amount in half.
- Use half of the cheese or only add parmesan as a garnish when serving.
- Use less salt.
- Omit the vodka.
- Use low-carb pasta or whole wheat pasta for non-gluten-free folks.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Store Gigi Hadid's pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. If you have any leftovers!
Reheat - this pasta is best enjoyed right away. The pasta will soak up all the sauce fairly quickly.
To reheat, add a splash of cooking cream, milk, vegetable broth, or simply water.
Reheat over the stovetop at low heat until the sauce starts to thicken again coating the back of the spoon.
What you can add instead of vodka to the pasta sauce? There are plenty of choices! White rum, fresh citrus juice, apple cider, white grape juice, or apple juice. As the tomato pasta has already some acidity in it you’ll want to add those substitutes in gradually and taste as you go. If it becomes too much, you can add a little bit of brown sugar to balance off the flavors.
The pasta sauce is quite fulfilling, but to make it a more complete meal, add high protein veggies, roasted chickpeas, or meat/seafood options such as grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, scallops, salmon, and cod.
This spicy vodka pasta has become viral for a good reason! It is of high quality, with very few ingredients but tastes 100% restaurant quality meal.
Milk can work in this recipe but is not ideal. It is not as rich and dense as cooking cream. For a healthier version you can definitely use half and half instead of heavy cream or a plant-based cooking cream (soya-based cooking creams work well as a creamy vegan substitute).
In her original story on her Instagram Gigi Hadid used a type of shell pasta. It seems it is a smaller variety, more of an orecchiette (“little ears”) pasta type. You can use any shell pasta medium or large ill be good here.
Other small pasta choices are fine too: Fusilli, rotini, penne pasta, orecchiette, rigatoni, shell pasta, penne, farfalle (bowtie), conchiglie.
I’ve added mushrooms, bell peppers, and some diced zucchini for more bulk and nutrition. I honestly love this spicy vodka pasta sauce so much that U can eat anything with it, just give me a double portion, please! It has become my new favorite pasta dish. Shrimps or white fish will taste great with the pink sauce too.
As this spicy vodka sauce is rather fulfilling on its own, serve it in one single portion with a crunchy lettuce-based salad, cucumber salad, or a caesar salad on the side.
Easy Gluten Free Pasta Recipes
I hope you'll enjoy this Gigi Hadid Pasta recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Gigi Hadid Pasta Recipe (Spicy Vodka Pasta)
- 8 oz medium or large shell pasta gluten-free or regular + reserve ½-1 cup of pasta cooking water
- 6 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic medium, minced
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon vodka
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 2 tablespoon butter
- basil leaves optional chopped
- Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente, adding ½ teaspoon of salt to the water. Drain pasta but reserve ½-1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
- Saute red onions in olive oil (I know, it’s a lot but this is what gives the beautiful flavor and texture to the pasta) in a large saucepan (or a medium dutch oven pot) over medium heat until they start to become soft. Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Add tomato paste. Stir the mixture until it's thoroughly combined and as Gigi recommends darker and a bit caramelized. Reduce the heat to low.
- Slowly pour in the vodka, being careful if your stove has an open flame (remove the pan from the heat before adding). In Gigi’s original version she says you can make it with vodka (as penne alla vodka recipe) but this time she didn’t add any and says it was still gooood. Simmer until vodka is almost evaporated. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour in the heavy cream, and season with salt and black pepper, chili flakes. Stir to combine, then turn heat to a low simmer. Cook until creamy and starts to thicken but not yet complete. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melts completely. The sauce should start to thicken, even more, it should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Now add cooked pasta to the spicy tomato sauce and gently stir to coat. Top with butter. The sauce will be thick, you’ll need to add the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out slightly. Add ½ cup of water or more to achieve the desired consistency. You’ll have to do it every time you reheat it (in case there are some leftovers!).
- Sprinkle parmesan on top, fresh chopped basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper if desired.
- Serve right away with a side portion of green salad for a complete meal.