This rich and creamy pasta dish features farfalle pasta in a super easy to make sauce, using mostly pantry items you already have on hand.
During times like these, when you’re using up the cans of tomato sauce and pasta you have in the pantry, you’re going to need great tasting recipes like these to mix things up a bit.
This pasta dish was quite popular in the 70s, but it rarely even shows up on American Italian restaurant menus anymore. I say it’s time to bring this old-time favorite back.
Penne pasta is typically used for this recipe, but I personally really love farfalle. To be honest, it doesn’t matter all that much what type of pasta you use. Farfalle, penne, rigatoni, even fusilli! Just go with it. No matter what pasta you use, the sauce will coat it with luscious rich flavor and you won’t care what shape it’s in.
Ingredients for Farfalle alla Vodka
You’re going to need 2 cans of canned tomatoes, heavy cream, butter, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and the star of the show: vodka! I also like to top this pasta with some fresh Parmesan cheese, if you have it.
I actually think people stopped making this dish because vodka sounded like a weird ingredient to add to dinner, but don’t let that worry you. It’s a very small amount and it mostly cooks off in the process.
You can keep this pasta vegetarian. It’s a great Meatless Monday recipe. Or you can add some chicken or ground beef, if you want to add more protein.
Tips for Farfalle alla Vodka
Although this recipe is truly simple to make, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- When you add the vodka, you need to allow the sauce to simmer for around 10 minutes to burn off all the alcohol. The vodka adds a lovely flavor profile to the sauce, but less so when it doesn’t cook off properly.
- Italians never leave the garlic in the dish. They flavor it with the garlic and then remove it from the pan. The choice is up to you if you leave it in or not.
- Butter is an important part of finishing the sauce. Don’t skip this step!
- Adding fresh grated Parmesan cheese to the top of the finished dish adds a ton of flavor and aromatics.
Try one of our other pasta dishes:
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Farfalle alla Vodka
- 4 oz uncooked farfalle pasta
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 1/8 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Following the directions on the package, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Start by adding extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and vodka to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the heavy cream and simmer for another 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the butter and stir. Remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir to coat.
- Serve the pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- We use crushed tomatoes for this sauce. However you can use chopped or whole canned tomatoes, as well. You will just need to puree the tomatoes with a stick blender or in a food processor before adding it to the sauce.
- Don’t allow the sauce to boil or the cream will break.
- If the sauce still has an aroma of alcohol after simmering for 10 minutes, continue to simmer until the alcohol aroma had dissipated.