Farfalle a la Vodka
I think I've said this before, but just in case, I'll say it again - I LOVE PASTA. One night, a month or so ago, I decided I wanted to try a new pasta recipe. I started doing some research, combing the internet and looking through my stack of cookbooks. I came across this recipe and was intrigued by cooking with vodka. I have to admit, I've never tried any of the vodka-based, pasta sauces that you see typically made with penne. So, when I found this recipe that not only called for vodka but heavy cream and bacon as well (did I mention bacon?), I thought, OK - I gotta try this. It sounded amazing, not to mention that it called for Farfalle (aka bow-tie), one of my favorite pastas.
Since having this, I've made this dish at least 5 times, twice for dinner guests. It's that good. So my advice, once you've finished reading this, go to the store, buy the ingredients and make this pasta immediately. I hosted a couple of neighbors and one reaction was, "Wow, this is really good...I'd pay for this!" The other great part? It's easy to make. Enjoy - Jonathan
OH! And last but not least, I love how the red in the pasta looks against these blue plates. Makes for a beautiful presentation! They're from the Threshold Wellsbridge Dining Collection at Target. Get them here.
- 1 package of uncured, smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (See note below)
- 2 cups finely chopped white onion (typically 1 large onion)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup vodka
- One 28-ounce can crushed, organic tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/3 cup torn basil leaves (additional for garnish)
- Ground salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound dried farfalle pasta
- Parmesan cheese for serving
In a large, deep skillet, cook the cut 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.
– This is where I usually start to boil my water for the pasta –
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly add the vodka and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Immediately add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. After it comes 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 pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the 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 Parmesan and serve right away.
The vodka sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
NOTE: Bacon can be a little difficult to finely chop when it's thawed so I remove from package, place on a plate and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. You'll find it's much easier to cut afterwards!
Original recipe from Food & Wine.