Straight from the famous Nick & Toni's in the Hamptons, I decided to try my hand at an authentic Italian Vodka sauce from scratch. The restaurant chef was featured on the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network preparing this exact recipe. bit.ly/cqwaxl
I followed the recipe exactly. However, I added a bit more red pepper flakes than the recipe called for. The smell was invigorating. My little apartment smelled like a restaurant straight out of Florence. The result was near perfection. I don't think I'll add the extra pepper next time around though - as the dish was a bit on the spicy side. I served the sauce with Rigatoni instead of Penne and it was a hit with my friends. We ate the dish with French bread and a big salad. Wonderful first recipe and experience to post about! Serve with a full-bodied Cabernet or Pinot Noir and enjoy.
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne 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 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. 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.
TIPS: I used one medium white onion instead of a "spanish onion." I also used Hunts whole peeled tomatos (no mention of "plum" on the label).