Vodka Sauce

FW Vodka Sauce

My daughter and I had a “girls night” with my friend and her daughters the other night. My friends are vegetarians, so I made two batches of this sauce- one with and the other without pancetta. Both were DELICIOUS! I used a GIANT can of San Marzano tomatoes from Costco, and just used half for each batch. I served the sauce over whole wheat penne noodles from Trader Joes’s. This is a “staff-favorite” recipe from Food and Wine.

Serves: 3 cups (enough for 1 pound of pasta)
Vodka adds a spicy flavor to this popular Italian American sauce.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 35-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sauté the pancetta, garlic and crushed red pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Deglaze with vodka. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the sugar and basil, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes.
  5. Season again with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic.
  6. Add heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

2 responses to “Vodka Sauce

  1. Jess

    Once again, my children and I were invited to the brook cooks table. She served this very easy to make sauce which I have since made at home. The children all love it, but I noticed hers was a tad chunkier than mine and asked her why. Turns out I use my immersion blender to pulse the whole tomatoes, while she squeezes hers by hand to crush!! OF COURSE!!! If the Brook Cook can make anything healthier or more Earth Friendly (no electric blenders for her) SHE WILL!! Delicious either way!

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