I found this recipe on Pinterest on Alexandracooks.com The entire name is Ina Garten's Pasta Alla Vecchia Bettola. That's a mouthful. The girls and I call it Vodka Sauce. Much shorter and easier to say.
The three of us absolutely love this sauce. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't care for it. So, we make it when he is travelling for work. Like this week. Even put some in the freezer for Megan who's at college. That will make her very happy.
When I first saw this recipe, I saw whole canned tomatoes. Yuck. I'm Italian and love my spaghetti, but not chunky with tomato pieces. But keep reading. After the tomatoes are all cooked, everything goes in the blender for a smooth outcome. My kind of recipe.
It's not hard to make at all. But it does take a while. First you have to reduce the Vodka and onion, then bake everything for 1 1/2 hours. It would be a great recipe to make for company. Make ahead of time and then just make the pasta and reheat the sauce when it's time to eat.
Ina Garten's Pasta Alla Vecchia Bettola (aka Vodka Sauce)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped to yield 2 1/2 cups
3 cloves garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup Vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes, whole
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne paste or whatever shape you like
4 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
*diced Pancetta (optional)
grated Parmigiano or Pecorino
Preheat oven to 375F
Heat the olive oil in large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add 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, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve. Now you have to crush the tomatoes with your hands right into the vodka/onion mixture. Be careful because they might splatter all over. Add salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
After the tomatoes have baked, place the mixture in a blender or food processer and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. You may have to do this in several batches. Return the sauce to the pan.
Reheat the sauce, add the pancetta, 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (if using) and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency-start with a quarter cup, taste and adjust to your taste. Add salt (optional) and pepper to taste, simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in generous handful of grated cheese. Serve with an additional sprinkor of cheese and a sprinkle of fresh oregano (optional) on each plate.
*The original recipe doesn't call for pancetta. We have found that it adds just enough of a salty flavor. Since no meat is in the sauce, it compliments the sauce very well.
The finished product with our favorite Parmesan cheese. This was actually our leftovers tonight. Just as good as when it was made. We have learned to double this recipe so we can freeze the sauce for college and still have leftovers.
Go ahead and check out the original recipe alexandracooks.com. This recipe may take a while to make, but it's totally worth the effort.
Until next time...Stampin' Always
Cheryl, HomeStyle Stamper