Macaroni With Vodka Sauce

(Maccheroni con la Vodka)

Plain Tomato Sauce

(Salsa di Pomodoro Semplice)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 slices (4 ounces) pancetta, diced
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound grooved macaroni, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To make tomato sauce, heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Press tomatoes through food mill or sieve and discard seeds. Add tomato pulp to saucepan. Simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet. When butter foams, add pancetta. Sauté over medium heat until lightly colored. Add vodka and stir until it has evaporated. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer uncovered 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Fill a very large saucepan two-thirds full with salted water. Bring water to boil. Add macaroni. Return to boil and cook macaroni uncovered, until tender but firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and return to skillet with sauce. Toss macaroni and sauce over medium heat until sauce coats macaroni, 20 to 30 seconds. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from Biba’s Taste of Italy. 2001. By Biba Caggiano, William Morrow Publishing