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white plate with creamy tomato sauce rigatoni topped with basil leaves and parmesan cheese, with a fork

Creamy Cottage Cheese Vodka Pasta Sauce

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stovetop, blender
  • Cuisine: American Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

You’d never guess that this creamy pasta sauce is made with cottage cheese! It’s a healthy tomato basil vodka sauce recipe that pairs perfectly with rigatoni or penne. This recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes or less. Cook the sauce on the stovetop, then blend with cottage cheese in a blender until velvety smooth and creamy.


Ingredients

Scale

Creamy cottage cheese pasta sauce

  • 23 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 6 oz can or tube tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup cottage cheese, preferably 4% full fat
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup vodka

Rigatoni with cottage cheese pasta sauce

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 heaping tbsp salt, for the pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese 


Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Add diced onion, minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion has softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Begin heating 4-5 quarts of water with salt in a large pot on the stovetop to cook the pasta in.
  3. Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and basil. Stir to combine everything and cook the tomato mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
    tomato basil sauce being cooked in a stainless steel saute pan
  4. Add the contents of the cooked tomato mixture to a blender along with the cottage cheese.
    Cottage cheese pasta sauce in a blender before being blended
  5. Blend on on high for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce is velvety smooth and creamy with no lumps.
    tomato basil cottage cheese pasta sauce blended in a blender
  6. Begin cooking the rigatoni pasta according to package instructions until it is al dente.
  7. Clean out the saute pan and put it back on the stove over low-medium heat.
  8. Add the sauce back to the saute pan and add the parmesan cheese.
  9. Let the cheese melt into the sauce, stirring occasionally, then add the vodka. Simmer for about 2 minutes to let some of the alcohol burn off.
    creamy cottage cheese pasta sauce in a saute pan
  10. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it directly to the pan with the sauce.
  11. Use a mixing spoon to mix the pasta into the sauce, so all the noodles are well coated in sauce.
    rigatoni vodka pasta in a saute pan with a wooden mixing spoon
  12. Portion onto plates or bowls for serving, and garnish each plate with fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese. 

Notes

Storage

Enjoy this pasta sauce right away while it is still hot. If you have leftover pasta with sauce, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through.