Yes, it’s Wednesday. And I owe you all a Rehab Wednesday post! I’m temporarily taking a break from this weekly topic, but I have a good excuse. My computer crashed … and then was erased … and then was fixed … and then crashed again. It’s rough, this Mac is my pride and joy. But, it’s been 5 years and it’s time for a new one, so I’m on the hunt for the perfect new laptop. In the meantime, I seem to be missing some files (specifically, some apartment pics!) on my backup drive so, alas, I’m giving you a Wednesday recipe instead! It’s a good one….
After flipping through the new Ina Garten cook book (one of my favorites) I had bookmarked (actually, taken a picture of) this recipe.
It’s a new twist on penne vodka, which I love, but it has a little bit of a smoky flavor from roasting the tomatoes and also doesn’t have that meaty flavor from pancetta, which is common in traditional vodka sauces. (I also love a good recipe that shows the versatility of my Le Creuset. Obsessed? Yes.)
I tried it out with some rigatoni (which I like a little better than penne since I can scoop up more sauce with it) and I’m impressed. I only made a few tiny variations. This one is a keeper and may permanently replace penne vodka in my kitchen.
Nick and Toni’s Pasta Alla Vecchia Bettolla
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound pasta
- 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 (like Le Creuset) 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, or use an immersion blender. 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.