Vodka Pizza

Vodka Pizza

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: This recipe will make more sauce than is needed for three pizzas. Extra sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve with pasta, if desired. Store-bought dough can be used in place of homemade. Use about 10 ounces of store-bought dough per pizza.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6 (makes 3 pies)
  • Active time: 1 hour (plus time to make dough and allow to rise)
  • Total time:1 1/2 hours


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly broken up by hand
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Basic New York Pizza Dough, divided and risen at least 2 hours
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella (preferably buffalo milk), torn into rough 3/4- to 1-inch chunks and drained in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl
  • 12 to 16 basil leaves
  • Kosher salt


  1. 1.

    Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/4, about 20 minutes. Add heavy cream, increase heat to bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue to cook until reduced again by 1/4, about 20 minutes longer. Add vodka and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. 2.

    Let sauce cool slightly, then transfer half of sauce to the jar of a blender. Blend, starting on lowest speed and gradually increasing to high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes total. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Repeat with remaining half of sauce. Sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (see note above).

  3. 3.

    At least 45 minutes before baking, place a baking stone or steel on an oven rack set to the top position and preheat oven to 550°F.

  4. 4.

    Turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to pizza peel.

  5. 5.

    Spread approximately 3/4 cup of sauce evenly over surface of crust, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch border along edge. Place 8 to 10 chunks of mozzarella evenly over surface of pizza and scatter with 4 to 5 basil leaves. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with with salt. Slide pizza onto stone or steel and bake until cheese is melted and crust underbelly is spotty brown, 6 to 12 minutes total. Remove from oven with metal pizza peel, transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining ingredients to make 2 additional pizzas.