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Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce

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Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce is made with freshly roasted plum and grape tomatoes. It’s an easy upgrade to a classic recipe.

Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce is made with freshly roasted plum and grape tomatoes. It's an easy upgrade to a classic recipe.

Today I am taking my sister’s recipe for vodka sauce and adding my own twist: roasted tomatoes. Oven-roasted tomatoes give this sauce a bold rich flavor, and it is so much better than using canned tomatoes.

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If you haven’t tried vodka sauce, it’s known for being creamy and cheesy with a little kick of spice. The sauce gets its name because the onions and red pepper flakes are cooked in vodka.

There has been debate regarding the history of the sauce, and if you really need to add the vodka at all, but I love how simmering the onions in the vodka softens and sweetens them. It gives them a flavor that contrasts with the spice perfectly.

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I love this recipe because it is so easy. Anyone can make this, and the active preparation time is minimal. The first step is roasting the tomatoes. I like to use a mix of plum and grape tomatoes because I like how meaty the plum tomatoes are, and I like the sweetness of the grape tomatoes.

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The grape tomatoes are smaller and roast faster, so you want to use roast the tomatoes on separate pans. I slice the plum tomatoes into quarters and I cut the grape tomatoes in half. Then I drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and let them roast for 30-45 minutes.

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After the tomatoes have roasted, the tomatoes get pureed in a food processor. To assemble the sauce, first you sauté white onion and garlic in olive oil. Then you add the red pepper flakes and vodka. This processes infuses the spiciness of the red pepper flakes into the base of the sauce, and also sweetens the onions.

Then you add the pureed tomatoes, and let them cook down for a few minutes. The last step is to add the cheese and cream. The entire process takes just about an hour, but only about 20 minutes of active preparation time.

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Once you have made roasted tomato vodka sauce, you can make penne alla vodka or you can use the sauce on pizza, in lasagna, or with meatballs. For some reason, vodka sauce tends to be limited to being served with penne, but I love it on everything.

How to Make Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce:

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Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

An easy recipe for from-scratch vodka sauce made with oven roasted tomatoes. This sauce is creamy, cheesy, and spicy. The best part is that it can be made in just over an hour.


  • 2 pounds of Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 pound of Grape Tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 medium-sized White Onion
  • freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ cup Vodka
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ grated Parmesan
  • Serve with fresh Basil


    Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and cut the roma tomatoes into loose quarters. Place the grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes on separate baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle generously with salt. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 25-40 minutes, until soft and fragrant. The grape tomatoes will cook more quickly than the roma.

    Place the tomatoes and all of their juices in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set puree aside for now.

    Finely chop the onion. Then heat the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Let cook for 2 minutes, then run the garlic through a garlic press and stir it into the onion. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

    Add a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more if you like spice). Stir into the onions. Then add the vodka.

    Saute until the vodka has reduced by half, then add the pureed tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer and reduce for 5 minutes.

    Lastly, stir in the parmesan and cream. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

    When serving the sauce with pasta, it is best to let the pasta finish cooking right in the sauce. Undercook the pasta by a minute or two. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the sauce, then add the pasta and let the pasta cook in the sauce until al dente.

    Serve the pasta with some fresh basil, it really brings out the flavor of this sauce.

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