|One 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.|
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
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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