Recipe Review

Rachael Ray’s Vodka Sauce Claims to Rid You of Your Single Status

published Sep 21, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

With a name like “You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta,” I was intrigued by Rachael Ray’s vodka sauce recipe from the get-go. Add to that that both my colleague, Nina, and Oprah vouch for it, and I knew I needed to try it.

Rachael is the queen of quick and easy recipes, and she also has a knack for Italian American classics, so I trusted her completely with this luxurious dish. Her version adds chicken stock to the mix and includes tons of fresh basil, both of which were new-to-me additions. Are these the secrets to winning over your dinner date? I headed into the kitchen to find out.

Get the recipe: Rachael Ray’s You Won’t Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Rachael Ray’s Vodka Cream Pasta

You’ll start by sautéing minced garlic and shallots in a combination of butter and olive oil. Add vodka, let it simmer until it reduces by half, then add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. The sauce will simmer while you cook your pasta. When it’s ready, stir in some heavy cream and torn fresh basil, toss with the pasta, and serve.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Rachael Ray’s Vodka Cream Pasta

I had high hopes for this vodka sauce, given its ease and the addition of fresh basil, but it just didn’t live up to its name. The basil lended lots of brightness, which I enjoyed, but I missed the bite of red pepper flakes that’s more typically added to the sauce.

I also felt the sauce didn’t simmer quite long enough for it to develop character. For a sauce that claims to win over your dinner date, it lacked the lick-your-bowl-clean vibes I expected. I do think it would be a good option for a fast weeknight pasta, but I’d skip it if you were really trying to impress.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

If You’re Making Rachael Ray’s Vodka Cream Pasta, a Few Tips

  1. Use low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. The recipe calls for chicken stock, but I think a carton of store-bought chicken broth or vegetable broth works just as well. Opt for low-sodium so you have greater control over the amount of salt in your sauce.
  2. Let the sauce simmer longer, if you have time. While this sauce is meant to be quick and easy, if you have time to spare, I’d recommend simmering it for a full 30 minutes rather than just the time it takes to cook your pasta. This will allow the flavors to develop more and leave you with a tastier sauce.
  3. Leave out the basil if freezing. Rachael mentions that if you’re only cooking for two and would like to reserve the extra sauce, it freezes well. Just divide the sauce in two and leave out the basil from the portion you’re freezing, as it will brown in the freezer. After you thaw and reheat the sauce, add in the basil.

Overall rating: 8/10

Have you tried Rachael Ray’s You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta? Let us know in the comments.