Smoky Vodka Sauce

Cuisinart original

Bacon adds a depth of smoky flavor to this version of the beloved sauce. Reserving the bacon until the end preserves its integrity and adds a satisfying crunch element to the finished dish.


Makes about 5 cups of sauce


4      ounces (about 4 slices) smoked bacon, such as
        applewood-smoked, cut crosswise into thin strips
1      medium onion, finely chopped
2      garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼     cup double-concentrated tomato paste
⅓    cup vodka
1     large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1     teaspoon salt
½    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1     cup heavy cream
2     tablespoons basil leaves, chiffonade
      grated Parmesan, for serving

Nutritional information

Nutritional information per serving (½ cup):
Calories 169 (67% from fat) • carb. 10g • pro. 3g • fat 11g • sat. fat 7g chol. 36mg • sod. 401mg • calc. 48mg • fiber 3g


1. Add the bacon to a cold Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet and heat over low heat. Sauté bacon, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the rendered bacon fat and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and just golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until deepened in color, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with vodka. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, salt and black pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream. For a smooth sauce, transfer sauce to the jar of a blender, or use an immersion blender, to blend until velvety smooth. Pour sauce
back into the cooking vessel and let simmer for 5 minutes.
3. To serve, toss sauce with pasta, reserved bacon, basil and grated Parmesan.