Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dinner Tonight:: Penne alla Vecchia Bettola

Jeff and I have a few holiday parties this weekend, so as hostess gifts, I've decided to bring homemade infused spirits. I will share the recipes later... Since the yummy flavors take a few days to develop!

You're wondering how that relates to dinner tonight? Well, the Grey Goose was open, our pantry was full of canned tomatoes, and I was craving pasta... Therefore, the perfect combination for Vodka Sauce!

This SO, SO, SO good recipe is from Joseph Realmuto of Nick and Toni's Restaurant in New York City. You will never eat sauce-in-a-jar again!

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 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
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta (I used 1 pound and there was still extra sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until 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.

  • 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. 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.

  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.

  • Place the tomato mixture in a blender 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. 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.


  1. Hi Ellen! Not sure if you remember me, I'm Kristen, Hannah's friend. Anyways, I saw on FB you started this blog and it's very pretty and I love your posts. My husband was just saying how he loves Vodka sauce and I didn't have a recipe - but I'm going to try yours now! Thank you and congrats on your marriage!


  2. Hi Kristen! So great to hear from you! Of course I remember... I've seen pictures of your wedding on Facebook, it looked beautiful, loved your dress... Congrats! And now Paris... That's very exciting! I'm new to the blogging world, but see you have one too, how fun! You will LOVE the vodka sauce, it is so, so good. And, since you're a Parisian now, be sure to try the Filet of Beef Bourguignon... It's super easy and simply delish! Chat soon!