Farfalle alla Vodka

Why do I see the penne pasta served with Vodka Sauce so often? Why not spaghetti or tubettini or ditalini? Or farfalle?

A little investigation finds that particular sauces ‘go’ with specific pasta better. Long thin strands like spaghetti or fettuccine get matched with creamy sauces like Alfredo or carbonara. Shapes like farfalle (bow ties) or conchigle (shells) or fusilli (springs) are most often paired with sauces that have texture as those pieces will be caught in the twists and stay there until the pasta gets to your mouth. And pasta that is tube-shaped, like rigatoni or penne, is best suited to chunky sauces because the sauce gets into the holes.

However, when I’m making pasta, the sauce gets matched to whatever pasta I have around. Today, it was farfalle that got tossed with the Vodka sauce and it was super.

Here’s what to do.

Get some pancetta and chop it.

chopped up pancetta

Chopped up pancetta.

Get some garlic and mince that.

minced garlic

Minced garlic.

Put the pancetta and garlic into a fry pan with some olive oil and cook it over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

cooking the pancetta and garlic

Cooking the pancetta and garlic.

Add the pureed tomatoes and vodka to the pancetta and garlic.

tomatoes added to the pancetta and garlic

Tomatoes added to the pancetta and garlic.

Now would be a good time to get the pasta cooked.

farfalle pasta

Farfalle pasta.

Simmer that over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the cream.

cream added to the tomato sauce

Cream added to the tomato sauce.

Stir to combine.

Add the sauce to the drained pasta and toss to coat.

add the sauce to the pasta

Add the sauce to the pasta.

Served with Parmesan cheese on top.

farfalle alla vodka

Farfalle alla vodka.

Farfalle with Vodka Sauce
Serves 4 – 6


6 – 8 slices pancetta, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 – 28 oz. can tomatoes, pureed
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound pasta of your choice
Parmesan cheese to serve

Cook pancetta and garlic in a large fry pan over medium heat for 15 minutes or until pancetta is slightly browned but before the garlic is.

Add the tomatoes and vodka to the pan and continue to cook for 10 minutes, until the vodka’s alcohol has cooked off.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well-salted water to al dente. Drain.

Remove the tomato sauce from the heat and add the cream. Stir to incorporate. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat.
Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.


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