This baked vodka spaghetti is pure comfort food nirvana! Tender bucatini is tossed in a silky vodka sauce, topped with ground meat and mozzarella, then baked until melted. It’s incredibly delicious and simple!
This baked vodka spaghetti is incredibly comforting, delicious, and simple to prepare on a weeknight. It’s also an excellent weekend meal with a large green salad. Bucatini pasta, silky and smooth vodka sauce, melty cheese, fresh basil, and loads of parmesan—what more could we want?!
For many years, baked spaghetti has been our go-to meal. I make it a couple times a month because everyone enjoys it so much. And it’s simple.
Spaghetti noodles with ground beef or turkey, marinara sauce, and cheese.
EASY! It’s so comforting and amazing. And it seems like a no-brainer, but the wonderful part is that it simply tastes different from standard “pasta and sauce.”
Do you know? Sometimes all we need is a supper like that. Something with recognizable flavors that we love, but not the same as we are accustomed to.
That is how I create most dishes and even prepare dinner.
“What can I make that tastes the same but… isn’t the same?”
Welcome to my life.
I believe the nicest element of the baked spaghetti is the melty cheese. I really like how some of the noodles pop out from the sauce and end up crunchy and crisp in the oven. I stole those bits. Of course.
How to Make this Baked Bucatini with Vodka Sauce
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound bucatini pasta
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 shallot, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup vodka, I like Tito’s
- 1 ¾ cups reserved pasta water
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- crushed red pepper, for topping
- fresh basil, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the ground beef. Cook, breaking it apart, until the beef is browned and cooked through. Break it into small pieces. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ground beef to a bowl.
- To the same pot, add the butter. Once it is melted, add in the shallots and garlic with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft.
- In the meantime, bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil to cook the bucatini.
- Add the tomato paste into the onions. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes, so the tomato pasta can toast and get a deeper flavor.
- Deglaze the pan with the vodka, streaming it in and stirring the entire time. Make sure you’re scraping the brown bits and flavor from the bottom. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water.
- Whisk in the remaining pasta water. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan, stirring until the cheese melts. Taste and season the sauce with more salt and pepper if needed. It may need it!
Spread ¼ cup of the vodka sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add the cooked bucatini to the dish, swirling it into piles or nests. You can make large ones or small ones!
- Sprinkle the ground beef on next. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the pasta, coating all the noodles as you go.
- Pull apart the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle it over the pasta.
- Bake the pasta for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the sauce on the edges is bubbly.
- Top with parmesan cheese, fresh basil and crushed red pepper. Serve!