Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola – I wish pasta was its own food group. I could eat some form of pasta every single day and not get sick of it. I really could.
I’ve made some form of pasta with a vodka cream sauce a few times but something about this recipe just called to me. I think it interested me because the tomato sauce is baked in the oven. I thought that would create a really good depth of flavor and I wasn’t wrong! (Bonus: The house also smelled amazing!) The slightly spicy, creamy tomato sauce coated the pasta perfectly and made for a truly delicious dinner.
Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 (28-oz.) cans peeled plum tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente
- 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add in the vodka and stir to combine. Cook until mixture is reduced by half.
3. While sauce is reducing, drain tomatoes through a sieve placed over a bowl. Crush the tomatoes with your hands into the reduced sauce and then add in the drained tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cover with tight fitting lid and place in oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. While sauce cool, cook pasta and set aside.
5. Using an immersion blender or regular blend, carefully puree the sauce until smooth.
6. Reheat the sauce in the Dutch oven on the stove and add remaining oregano, enough heavy cream to reach a creamy consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add in pasta and about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.