Slow-cooker saucy vodka pasta

Alyce's saucy vodka pasta. Source: Alyce Alexandra

This is one recipe that’s perfect for entertaining. It will have everyone talking — vodka pasta?! We’re not cooking off the alcohol, so it’s even going to have a kick! (Equivalent to one standard drink per person for anyone driving.)

The sauce is your typical Italian pink or rose sauce, rich and silky, and we’re using my favourite hack: cooking the pasta with the sauce in the slow cooker! Not only does it cut down on washing up, but the starch released as the pasta cooks adds a subtle body to the sauce. By the time you sit down for dinner, the chopping board, knife and fry pan have long been washed, the kitchen is clean and the stage is set for a relaxing evening.

Serves 4.


  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, diced
  • 1kg Ripe tomatoes, diced (or 400g tinned diced tomatoes)
  • 2 Chicken-style stock cubes (or faux-chicken-style stock powder)
  • 3 tsp Fine salt
  • 2 cups Water
  • 500g Penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup Double cream (or plant-based butter)
  • 1/2 cup Vodka


  1. Heat oil in large fry pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and sauté for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock cubes or stock powder, salt and water. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  3. 4 or 8 HOURS LATER … Give everything a really good stir. Add pasta, pushing down with the back of a spatula if necessary, ensuring pasta is fully submerged. Cover and cook for 30 minutes on high (this is one of those times where you’ll need to be exact with your time or you’ll overcook the pasta).
  4. Add cream and vodka and give the pasta another really good stir. Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes on high.
  5. Test pasta — it should be cooked al dente, but if not, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes on high.

Serve your pasta immediately — don’t leave it in the slow cooker on the keep warm setting or it will overcook.

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