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Secret Pasta alla Vodka with Chicken Recipe

Secret Pasta alla Vodka with Chicken Recipe

(6 Servings)


Experience the rich flavors and creamy texture of this delightful vodka pasta recipe, featuring marinated chicken thighs and a savory tomato sauce enhanced with a splash of vodka. This dish is perfect for a comforting dinner with family or friends.


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1.5 lbs Raw Chicken Thighs, sliced into thin strips (680g)
  • 1 tbsp Hot Sauce (15g)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Fish Sauce

For the Pasta:

  • 1 box Barilla Protein Plus Penne (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can Cento Crushed Tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1/2 cup Whipped Cream Cheese (83g)
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 6 Cloves Fresh Garlic (18g)
  • 2 shots Vodka (83g)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated (50g)
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste (65g)
  • 1 tbsp Max’s Hot Sauce (15g)
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce (15g)


  1. Begin by peeling and dicing your onion, then peeling and mincing fresh garlic.
  2. Remove excess fat and slice raw chicken thighs into thin strips.
  3. Then combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl with the chicken. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions, but stop 1-2 minutes early for al dente texture; reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high and cook marinated chicken until fully done; set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté onions until browned and softened.
  3. Add garlic and tomato paste, cooking until fragrant.
  4. Stir in Max’s Hot Sauce and let cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  5. Then add crushed tomatoes and fish sauce. Simmer to reduce, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add vodka and simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Return the cooked pasta and chicken to the skillet, tossing to coat with the sauce. Adjust consistency with reserved pasta water.
  8. Remove from heat and blend in Parmesan cheese and cream cheese until the sauce is creamy.


  1. Can I make this without vodka?
Yes, replace vodka with 2 tsp of Better Than Chicken Bouillon for flavor without alcohol.
  1. What can I use instead of whipped cream cheese?
You can use regular cream cheese or half-and-half as alternatives, and if you want a lower calorie variant use reduced fat cream cheese.
  1. Can I substitute the chicken thighs?
Yes, chicken breasts or even shrimp make great substitutes.
  1. Is there a vegetarian option?
Omit the chicken and double the vegetables, or use plant-based meat substitutes.
  1. How long does this dish keep?
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  1. Can I freeze vodka pasta?
It's best enjoyed fresh, as the cream base may separate when frozen and reheated.
  1. What to serve with vodka pasta?
Pair with a simple green salad and crusty bread for a complete meal.
  1. Do I have to use Barilla Protein Plus Pasta?

No, I use Barilla Protein Plus Paste to make this into a healthier meal by offering extra protein and fiber. However, if it's unavailable, any pasta can be used—just remember, the nutritional profile will vary.

  1. Can I use pre-minced garlic?

Fresh garlic is crucial for its vibrant flavor, which differs markedly from powdered or jarred alternatives. For the best taste, I’d recommend sticking with fresh.

  1. What is fish sauce, and what else can I use?

Fish sauce is an Asian cooking sauce with anchovies in it. I chose it for this recipe because it adds a rich umami flavor similar to that of Caesar Salad. If unavailable, soy sauce is a suitable substitute, but adjust salt levels accordingly to avoid over-seasoning.

  1. What tomato sauce should I use?

Cento San Marzano Tomatoes are my go-to for their superior quality. If they're out of reach, any crushed tomatoes will work, but the taste may vary.

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