When I’m hungry for a rustic but oh-so-delicious meal, I turn to recipes like this Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce. There’s so much goodness in this dish, and it’s loaded with beef, fennel, pancetta, and, of course, a thick, rich and delicious vodka sauce. Hungry? This easy pappardelle pasta recipe has it all!

a serving of Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce

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This is a restaurant-quality pasta dish you can make at home, and when you work with quality ingredients like those from Delallo, you can get authentic Italian flavors every time. From orzo salads to penne pasta, to this pappardelle recipe–we just love pasta, as it’s great for family meals and dinner guests. This post is sponsored by Delallo.

Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce

I love how rustic and chunky this dish is. It’s loaded with flavor from the fennel and ground beef, and the sauce is terrific! It’s thick and silky and coats every noodle with flavor. I use Delallo’s Pomodoro Creamy Vodka Sauce and a can of crushed tomatoes for the sauce. This way, I get a great cooked-all-day flavor without having to build the sauce from scratch.

2 servings of pasta

A few tablespoons of Delallo’s double concentrate tomato paste adds even more tomato flavor Delallo’s pappardelle egg pasta is the perfect noodle for this hearty dish.

What is pappardelle pasta?

Pappardelle is a type of Italian pasta that’s recognized by its wide ribbon-like shape. Traditionally made from egg pasta, this is a great pick for meals with hearty ragus or thick and chunky sauces like this pappardelle pasta with beef, fennel, and more.

mixing red sauce to Pappardelle Pasta

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s easy to make, and you can make the sauce the day before to speed things up.
  • It’s hearty, filling, beefy, chunky, and loaded with flavor!
  • Fresh herbs give it a pop of flavor and a pretty presentation!

ingredients to make Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Gather these ingredients

  • Delallo olive oil 
  • Pancetta – Diced. You can find this in your store’s deli area.
  • Delallo tomato paste
  • Onion – Yellow onion; diced.
  • Fennel – 1 large bulb; diced.
  • Ground beef – Use lean or 80/20.
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Red wine – ¼ cup.
  • Delallo crushed tomatoes – 1 28-ounce can.
  • Delallo Pomodoro creamy vodka sauce – 1 25-ounce jar.
  • Delallo pappardelle egg pasta – 2 8.8-ounce packages.
  • Parmesan cheese – To garnish.
  • Fresh herbs – 1 cup of oregano, basil, and or marjoram.

What is pancetta?

Pancetta is an Italian cured meat made from pork belly that has been seasoned, rolled, and then dry-cured. Unlike bacon, which is also made from pork belly, pancetta is not smoked and has a more delicate, subtle flavor profile. It adds a rich, fatty element and depth of flavor.

adding red vodka sauce to pasta

How to make Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce, Beef, and Fennel

  1. Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium-high.
  2. Add the onion, fennel, tomato paste, and pancetta and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. The tomato paste should caramelize and start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and scrape up all the bits with a spatula.
  4. Add the diced onion, fennel and tomato paste to the pot and cook until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. 
  5. Add the ground beef and cook on medium-high until the beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and Delallo Pomodoro creamy vodka sauce and mix well. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a bare simmer and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and reduced. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and add a bit of sugar to taste if you want a bit of sweetness in the sauce.
  7. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and heavily salt the water. When boiling, add the Delallo pappardelle egg pasta and cook for about 8-9 minutes or until al dente.
  8. Before draining the pasta, transfer ½ to 3/4 cup of pasta water to the sauce and stir. Bring back to a simmer and simmer until the pasta has finished cooking and draining.
  9. Drain the noodles and transfer the noodles to the sauce. Stir to coat and cook in the sauce for about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of fresh herbs to the sauce and stir.
  10. Serve immediately topped with grated Parmesan cheese and reserved herbs.

Pappardelle Pasta with cheese

Tips & substitutions

  • I always choose Delallo’s quality ingredients, but any brand will do.
  • This pappardelle pasta recipe with beef can be made ahead. Make the sauce up to 2 days in advance, and then finish the recipe by boiling the noodles and tossing them into the heated sauce.
  • If you can’t find pancetta, you can use good-quality bacon.
  • If you buy whole fennel, reserve some of the fronds as a pretty garnish.
  • You can make this recipe and keep warm in the slow cooker for pasta night! Serve with hot crunchy bread.

pasta with sauce and cheese and parsley

Serving suggestions

You don’t need to serve much with this pappardelle pasta recipe with beef and fennel. I love serving it with Caesar salad or a tossed green salad with your favorite dressing and, of course, garlic bread. This hearty pasta recipe pairs nicely with Pear Cobbler for dessert, or finish your meal with a refreshing sorbet.


Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers. Package them in a freezer-safe container or plastic for up to a month.

parsley sprinkled on pastas dish

Check out these awesome pasta recipes while you’re here

This post is sponsored by Delallo.  As always, all opinions are my own.

a serving of Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce
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Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce is meaty, chunky, and oh-so-good! Perfect for hearty, rustic meals, this easy dish is a dinner winner! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 8
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  • 3 Tbsp Delallo Olive Oil
  • 4 oz chopped pancetta
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large bulb fennel, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ c red wine, sub chicken stock or water to deglaze the pan
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 28 oz can Delallo crushed tomatoes
  • 1 25.5 oz jar Delallo Vodka Pomodoro Fresco sauce
  • 2 pkg Delallo Egg Pappardelle pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c Oregano, Basil, and/ or Marjoram, divided with ½ c reserved to garnish


  • In a large pot or dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat over medium high. Add the onion, fennel, tomato paste, and pancetta and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. Allow the tomato paste to caramelize and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Season the mix with salt and the black pepper, then add the red wine (or water or stock) and scrape the bottom with a spatula to deglaze. Next, add the ground beef and break apart with a spatula. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, 10 minutes.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vodka Pomodoro Fresco sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced. Taste for additional salt, but season lightly because you’ll also be adding some salted pasta water before serving.
  • Bring 4 qts of water to a boil. Season heavily with salt and stir to dissolve. When water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes or until al dente—the pasta will continue cooking when you add it to the warm sauce before serving. Just before the pasta has finished cooking, transfer ½-¾ cup of the pasta water to the sauce and stir—allow the sauce to simmer as you finish cooking and draining the pasta.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, immediately drain and transfer to the simmering pot of sauce. Stir to coat the noodles and allow the sauce to thicken, 2 minutes. Add ½ c of the fresh herbs into the pot (reserving the rest to garnish).
  • Serve the pasta warm with a generous amount of parmesan and fresh herbs.


The wine and pancetta are optional! You can skip the pancetta altogether and substitute the wine with water or chicken broth, you just need some liquid to deglaze the pot if ingredients begin to stick and brown. 
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Appetizer
Calories: 293kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 779mg, Potassium: 473mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 241IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 129mg, Iron: 4mg
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Pappardelle Pasta with Vodka Sauce