Well, not really penne – but I used orecchiette – but this recipe is not about the shape of the pasta – it is all about the sauce. I’ve made vodka sauce before – but this one is better. I used plum tomatoes that I canned this year and fresh oregano from my garden – this sauce is out of this world good. It’s got a little kick from the red pepper flakes – and a smooth creamyness, from the cream. Just make sure you actually have vodka in your liquor cabinet before you start this – so you don’t have to run out to the liquor store in the middle of this like I did. I served it with a simple ceasar salad and some garlic knots – perfect Sunday dinner! Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 - (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound penne (or other shaped) pasta
- 2-4 Tbsp. fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.
3. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
4. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper.
5. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
7. Puree the tomato sauce mixture with a hand blender (or use a regular blended if you don’t have a hand-held one).
8. Warm the sauce over low, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.