Vodka Sauce + Meatballs

Vodka Sauce + Meatballs
This is a great recipe to gather your loved ones around the kitchen to make together. Here's a little trivia to toss around while the meatballs bake: this dish is not Italian! It was invented by a genius American chef in the late 1960s. You'll enjoy how the vodka balances out the tomatoes and heavy cream producing a cozy, comforting pasta dish. 

What You'll Need


1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves minced garlic
2 eggs
1 cup freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese, plus extra for topping
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

Vodka Sauce

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon salted butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup vodka
Homemade Pasta or 1 box Dried Pasta


For the meatballs:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl; set aside while you chop the produce. Add all meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well. Using a cookie scoop (or your hands), form into small balls, a little smaller than a golf ball.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches, turning several times. Once browned but still soft, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 F.

For the vodka sauce

  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add tomato paste and whisk to combine. Meanwhile, cook pasta for 4-6 minutes, or until Al Dente, reserving 1 cup of pasta water (Pro tip: when you start cooking the pasta, place your colander in the sink with a 1-cup measuring cup in it - ensuring you don’t forget to reserve the water!)
  2. Whisk in the heavy cream, stirring frequently to combine, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vodka and continue to whisk for another 7-10 minutes, until alcohol is cooked out.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and whisk to thicken the sauce; continue to add the pasta water to desired consistency, whisking continually.


Toss the pasta and the meatballs with the sauce until everything is well-coated; top with freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese. Serve immediately!

Serves 6-8.

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