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artichoke chicken pasta
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

IMG_4428xOne of my most favorite pasta dishes is Cooks Illustrated Penne a la Vodka. It is so good and reasonably easy to prepare. When I saw the episode of The Barefoot Contessa featuring a very similar dish, I knew I had to try it. Who cares that it takes over two hours...it is worth every second. This dish is amazing. Miss F kept asking for "more" and when I say kept asking, she had at least 5 helpings. Her little belly was about to explode. C thought it was good, but wondered why there was no meat. I will make it again with sausage for him.
Nick and Toni's Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
serves 4

¼ cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ 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
¾ 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 cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, 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 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 ½ 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 ½ cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.
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6 comments:

brannyboilsover.com said...

This definitely looks like a meal worthy of a weekend afternoon in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Can you substitute the vodka?

katie said...

I am not sure if you can substitute the vodka. It really enhances the tomato flavor!

Sara said...

Can you use dried oregano at the end, or is using fresh necessary?

katie said...

@Sara Dried oregano works just fine, use a teaspoon or so

Tara said...

This was wonderful! I love the flavor of the sauce after roasting in the oven. My husband and son couldn't get enough of it either. I will definitely have to make again.

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