A simple shrimp and pasta dish with a spicy punch and a creamy finish. Shrimp Linguine alla Vodka is quick and easy to throw together, even on the busiest week nights. In just a little more time than it takes to cook linguine, you can have this impressive dinner ready to serve.
One of the things I love doing with Pinterest is making the Hubs scroll through to find ideas for dinners he would like. A little inspiration to get us out of our dinner rut. One day he found a pasta with red sauce and shrimp. He asked me to make it and make it as spicy as I could handle, which unfortunately for him, isn’t very spicy…
So I decided on a vodka sauce. A good amount of heat for him and a touch of creaminess for me. Perfect.
Vodka sauce normally starts by sautéing onions. Neither the Hubs or I really like onions, especially him. I cook with them every once in a while, but I’ve found that we are both much happier when I use shallots instead. A little milder, a little garlicky, we just like them better. Plus I can use one in place of “half an onion” and not have to waste the other half.
The first time I made this dish I added the shrimp after the shallots and garlic had sautéed. I thought I wanted them in the pan when the vodka hit to add some extra flavor to the actual shrimp. But what actually happened was the shrimp overcooked and got pretty tough. But poaching the shrimp in the sauce still gives them plenty of flavor and keeps them tender and juicy.
I know lots of people add Parmesan cheese to vodka sauce, so I tried some the first time around, too. I prefer this sauce without the cheese. I felt like the cheese just sort of muddled the flavors. The sauce has so much more punch without the added cheese. But if you can’t bear to eat a plate of pasta without some cheese on top, go ahead. It’s still delicious.
The best part about this Shrimp Linguine alla Vodka is how quickly it cooks. If you’re comfortable mincing garlic and shallots you can have this on the table in the amount of time it takes to cook the linguine start to finish. But if you’re not so comfortable, mince the veg first and then start heating the pasta pot.
In any case, this dish adds a burst of excitement and flair to any boring weeknight. It’s an impressive meal that strikes a fantastic balance between the spice and the creaminess. It’s already a regular on our rotation, and I know your family will love it, too!
- 12 oz linguine
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large shallot
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 3 to 5 pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c vodka
- 1 can, 15 oz, tomato sauce
- 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, no tail
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
- Start by boiling water in a large pasta pot, when the water boils, heavily salt and add in the linguine
- While you wait for the water to boil, heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet
- While the oil is heating, mince the shallot and garlic
- Add to the oil once hot
- Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until translucent and fragrant
- Add pepper flakes as desired
- Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds
- Carefully add in the vodka and stir
- Cook, stirring frequently until the vodka reduces by half, then add the tomato sauce
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add to the sauce
- Stir gently until the shrimp are coated
- Cover and let simmer while the pasta cooks
- (Usually I add the pasta to the boiling water at the same time as I add the shrimp to the sauce)
- Both the linguine and the shrimp should take about 9-10 minutes; Pasta should be al dente, shrimp should be opaque all the way through
- At the last minute, stir the heavy cream into the sauce and cook until hot
- Drain the pasta, and add to the sauce
- Gently stir to combine
- Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley if desired, serve immediately
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge