Vodka Sauce
Italian Recipe

It’s true that nothing can beat a homemade pasta sauce. But put grandma’s marinara on hold and try this creamy, dreamy vodka sauce with all the complex flavors of an Italian supper. And, even better, you won’t have to spend all day tending to the stovetop.

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Serves 4–6
1 tablespoon oil for sautéing
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, diced*
1 large onion, chopped
~1/2 cup vodka
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, pureed or chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
~1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper**
 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
 ~  teaspoon salt

*Pancetta is often referred to as Italian bacon. It is salt-cured pork belly meat that can be found at many supermarkets or Italian markets.

**Substitute with ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes if you prefer.

  1. Heat oil and butter in a skillet until sizzling.
  2. Add pancetta and sauté until just crisp.
  3. Add onions and sauté until softened.
  4. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds. Adjust heat to prevent burning.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and stir in vodka. Scrape all of the bits of pancetta and bits of flavor into the liquid.
  6. Return the sauce to medium heat and bring to a bubbling simmer.
  7. Cook until sauce thickens, approximately 5–7 minutes.
  8. Stir in the tomatoes, basil and cayenne pepper. Mix well and bring to a lively simmer.NOTE: Do not skip tempering the cream or it may curdle when poured into the hot sauce. If this happens, place sauce in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  9. Remove ½ cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the cream. Whisk together until hot.
  10. Likewise, it you prefer a smooth vodka sauce rather than chunky, place the sauce in a blender and process to your desired consistency.Note: Do not fill the blender full with the hot sauce as it will expand and blow upward creating a huge mess. Best to work in two batches. Best to work in two batches.
  11. Taste the sauce then adjust the salt and cayenne pepper to your taste.
  12. Use with your favorite pasta.
  13. Serve
Preparation Time: 
approximately 15 minutes