Penne a la Vodka

Adapted from Nick & Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola. See original recipe and video here.

Penne a la Vodka


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup vodka (optional)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (SM & Muir Glen are my two favorite brands)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese



Preheat oven to 375-F degrees.


Heat the olive oil and onion in an oven proof pot over medium heat.


Cook for about 5 minutes; then add garlic. Cook until fragrant.


Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano; cook for 1 minute more.


Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.


Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands.


Add salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.


Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.


Place the tomato mixture in a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in pot) and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.


Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency (up to 1/2 cup).


Serve with penne or rigatoni


Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.


Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more.


Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

This is my favorite brand of tomatoes. Muir Glen is also good.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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