dinner, Italian, Pasta & Pizza, Main Dishes, Recipes

nick & toni’s penne with vodka sauce

While I still love trying and creating new recipes (attempting scallops for the first time tonight – AH!) – there are some oldies on this here blog that I just can’t leave up with such funny low quality photos! I originally posted this recipe two years ago, but since I make it super frequently, re-posting was a no brainer. This incredibly delicious, slightly spicy, sweet, creamy pasta dish is in my top 5 favorite dinners. Like, if there was a zombie apocalypse and I had to hide out in a sealed bunker, I’d be sure I had the ingredients to make this on hand. Also, this recipe comes by way of Ina, from one of her favorite restaurants – so you know it’s good!


1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, I use sweet onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Sir Dave loves this with Italian sausage, and I like it with chicken, but I also love it as is – so have at it in whatever way you prefer!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat and then add the onions and garlic. Cook for about five minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for one 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 (look out they splash). Add 2 tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper. Then 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.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender or food processor and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tbs fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency, about 1 cup. 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 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate, if you want to be fancy like Ina. Voila, easy homemade vodka sauce that will have you getting seconds and thirds.



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