• Farfalle a la Vodka


A Zimmern Family Favorite

By Andrew Zimmern

Farfalle a la Vodka is a favorite at my house, and perfect 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.

Farfalle a la Vodka

Servings: 6

Total: 40 minutes


  • 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


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.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the farfalle 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.

Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Stephanie Meyer. 

Like this recipe? You may also enjoy:

Recipe Finder

Related Recipes


Main Ingredients



Back to Recipes Page