Tomato Vodka Fusilli with Fresh Basil

May 8 2020

This week's new recipe is this lush and flavour-packed tomato vodka fusilli with fresh basil. Yum!

Even though it uses seemingly simple ingredients the sauce in this dish has an amazingly rich flavour - it's my ‘lighter version’ of a creamy vodka tomato sauce. Instead of using 1 cup of cream, as many vodka sauce recipes call for, I've used 1 cup of milk with ¼ cup cream. I find it still creates that delicious creamy sauce but without the heaviness, a whole heap of cream can bring. If you didn't want to use any cream you could use ¼ cup of thick unsweetened yoghurt instead. The yoghurt will give the sauce a slight tang but still taste deliciously creamy.

I’ve used fusilli (spiral-shaped) pasta as I love the way the sauce clings to the pasta and fills all the spirals. A rigatoni or penne would also work great. Any pasta the sauce can really cling and make it’s way in to will work perfectly.

The vodka in the sauce has the alcohol content cooked out but the flavour it imparts remains. It gives the sauce a slight tang and peppery finish and also cuts through the richness of the tomatoes and cream. If you'd rather not use vodka you could instead use white wine. It would taste a little different in flavour but have a similar effect. If you'd rather not use any alcohol you could instead add a squeeze of lemon in a ¼ cup of water with a few cracks of black pepper.

I hope you guys enjoy this lush pasta dish! Let me know if you have any questions.


Tomato Vodka Fusilli with Fresh Basil  |  Gather & Feast

Tomato Vodka Fusilli with Fresh Basil  |  Gather & Feast


VEG, Dairy-free options
20 minutes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large shallot (or 1 small red onion), finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or mild chili flakes to your taste)
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • ¼ cup pure cream --OR-- ¼ cup natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • 80g (roughly 1¼ cups) parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 500g Barilla fusilli
  • Salt & black pepper to taste


  1. Place a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Next, add a generous glug of olive oil to a large heavy-based frypan.
  3. Add the finely chopped shallots and sauté on low to medium heat until the shallots are soft.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté on low heat for about a minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste and sauté on low to medium heat until the tomato paste turns deep red in colour (roughly 4 minutes).
  6. While the tomato paste is sautéing add a tbs or two of salt to the boiling pot of water.
  7. Now add the fusilli and boil for 10 minutes.
  8. Once the tomato paste is deep red in colour add the vodka and cook on medium heat for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.
  9. Next, add the milk and yoghurt to the tomato mixture and stir to combine.
  10. Taste for salt and pepper.
  11. Once the pasta is cooked drain and add it directly into the pasta sauce then give it a quick stir through.
  12. Add the parmesan, butter, and fresh basil.
  13. Stir to combine and until the sauce is smooth.
  14. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Hi there!

I’m Ashley, welcome to Gather & Feast. A site full of beautiful food, simple wholesome recipes & the occasional sweet treat. x  

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