Tuscan Recipe: Pasta Al Fumo

One of my favorite local dishes from the Cortona area in Tuscany is Pici al Fumo.  It’s a pasta dish with a tomato cream sauce that gets it flavor from bacon, garlic and rosemary.  It’s rich and divine.  I wanted to recreate it here in Mexico and found a great recipe. I make it with Bucatini pasta and it worked great!

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Pasta Al Fumo

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Italian

Serves: 4


  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1.5-inch sprig of rosemary cut into three equal pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 100 grams pancetta or smoked bacon, cut into a small dice
  • 2 oz vodka (1 generous shot)
  • 1 small can tomato paste (~6 oz or 3/4 cup)
  • 12 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 cup water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 lb pasta (like pici bucatini, or penne)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place olive oil, 1 piece of rosemary, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Remove garlic and rosemary, and add pancetta/bacon and remaining rosemary. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until pancetta is golden-brown. Remove rosemary.
  2. Add vodka and cook until the smell of alcohol is gone (don’t take a strong whiff right away – it’s potent!), then stir in tomato paste and water. Bring to a low simmer.
  3. Stir in red pepper flakes and panna (or equivalent) and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until sauce is thick and deep orange in colour. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water (time the pasta to finish around the same time as your sauce). Once sauce has finished simmering, taste and adjust with salt as necessary. Toss together drained pasta and sauce and serve!

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