Farfalle a la Vodka


Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen AdventuresThis is a Zimmern family favorite, a great recipe for a midweek dinner. The amped-up tomato sauce gets a kick from the vodka and a rich, smoky flavor from the bacon. The kids will love it, and yes, the alcohol boils off. We sometimes take this a step further and put out a grater and three or four hard cheeses for folks to choose either a pecorino, an aged goat Gouda, a Parm or other salty, aged piece of magic for their pasta. —Andrew Zimmern Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pasta 

Farfalle a la Vodka
Photo: © Stephanie Meyer
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 cups finely chopped onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 cup vodka

  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 1/3 cup torn basil leaves

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 pound dried farfalle pasta

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


  1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Carefully add the vodka and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to break down, about 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the cream and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the reserved cooking water and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pasta is coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The vodka sauce can be refrigerated for up 3 days.

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