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Pasta with Creamy Tomato and Gin Sauce

4.66 from 20 votes

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A twist on the classic pasta with vodka sauce recipe, using aromatic gin and rosemary.

creamy pasta alla gin sauce

Ah, penne alla vodka.

The classic dish is an iconic throwback to the Eighties, along with MTV and permed hair.

At its best, the sauce is a perfect balance of tangy tomato, sweet cream and pasta. In other words, the ultimate recipe for comfort food.

And I’m guessing we can all use an order of that right about now.

But does vodka sauce really need vodka?

Somewhere along the line I switched vodka for gin as my house spirit.

It could have been the grapefruit-scented Italian greyhounds I was drinking a while back, which led to a serious negroni habit (ongoing, btw)!

I thought gin would be a worthy stand-in in this classic sauce.

Like vodka, gin has a neutral clarity, but its herbal and botanical notes add a flavor and complexity that vodka simply can’t match.

A little bit of chopped fresh rosemary in the finished sauce reminds me of gin’s piney juniper scent.

I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen over the coming months, cooking and revisiting favorite recipes. It’s just the nudge I need to be right here in this space. I hope you’ll be there, too!

More craveable pasta recipes:

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ziti pasta with creamy gin sauce

Pasta with Creamy Tomato and Gin Sauce

Karen Tedesco
Pasta alla vodka sauce, only made with gin! All the creamy comfort you want in one bowl.
Print Pin
4.66 from 20 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings


  • 12 ounces (350 g) dried pasta, your favorite shape
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) butter
  • 1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) gin or vodka
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 g) crushed canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup (25 g) freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving


  • Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil along with 3 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a wide pan large enough to hold the pasta. Add the shallot or onion and cook 1 minute, or until softened.  Pour in the gin and gently simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, cream, red pepper, rosemary and ½ teaspoon salt. Gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  • When the pasta is done, drain it and add to the pan. Reduce heat to low, add the cheese and stir until pasta is coated with the sauce. Serve with additional cheese on top.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1258IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. This was so good! I made a vegan version with cashew cream and vegan parmesan and butter. Also used some vegetable bouillon granules for some extra savory flavor. Amazing, definitely a lot of complex herbal, citrus and pine notes.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner with oat milk and was so easy it turned out SO good!

  3. Thanks for coming up with this recipie. Being from an Italian-Argentinian background, when I moved to the US and quickly vsaw vodka sauce was the “the thing,” I thought, vodka? Really? No way Its neutral profile is anathema! I always thought gin is a much better option. It really makes sense what you say about the rosemary’s piney notes enhancing the gin’s juniper scent. Looks like a total winner. Can’t wait to make it! Thanks again;

  4. Great recipe! Just made it for the first time. I took the liberty in adding 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1 tsp. oregano.

    5 stars!

  5. Is penne vodka rly a throwback?

  6. Oh, I’ll have some of that! (and there will be negronis here when you get here!)