Homemade Vodka Pasta Sauce

You know how some people have a go-to dish that they know like the back of their hand? Yeah, this vodka pasta is definitely mine.

This meal has to be one of my favorites! The first time I ever had vodka pasta was at the beach, where an old family friend made it from the store-bought jar sauce. I remember I spent the entire time I was eating it trying to taste the vodka. I was underage then, so the rebel in me was thrilled… Until I realized the alcohol is all cooked off.

Store-bought sauce is wonderful and I have used many great ones before. But it’s really so much cheaper to make it yourself at home! Grab a few ingredients at the store and you only twenty minutes away from a delicious dinner with even better leftovers!

In my original recipe, I used bacon because I couldn’t find pancetta in my local grocery store. However, in full honesty, I prefer it without any meat in it at all. I like the flavors of the tomato and cream to shine through and sometimes bacon can be a little overpowering. I included the bacon into this recipe since I know bacon is a worldwide classic, but feel free to leave it out!

I’ve also added a few pinches of red pepper flakes before and that is also delicious! Just sprinkle them in with all the other spices and you have a nice little hit of spice!


3 slices of bacon

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

A few cracks of black pepper

1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 6-ounce can of tomato paste

2 tablespoons-1/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of vodka

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Begin to warm up a large skillet on medium heat. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and then place them in the pan. Cook bacon until it’s almost crispy, about 5-8 minutes. Bacon will continue to firm up while it cools so you don’t want to overcook it. Drain the bacon and place on a paper towel.

Add in the tablespoon of oil and the chopped onion. Cook onion for about 5 minutes until translucent.

Add in garlic. Cook for another minute.

Add in tomato paste and seasonings. Mix with the onions and garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Then, add in crushed tomatoes, sugar, and vodka. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 5-10 minutes. You want to make sure that you fully cook off the alcohol!

Turn heat to low and add in heavy cream and bacon. Stir everything together and serve over a plate of warm pasta. I prefer rigatoni, but that’s totally optional!

This is such an easy dish to throw together and can be made up with mostly pantry staples! I always try to keep these things on hand so in case any last-minute dinner guests come over, I know I have something delicious to whip up!

-Holly Michelle

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