Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pasta with Slow Roasted Vodka Sauce

... aka "Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola." But I like to keep things simple, so I'm gonna go with slow roasted vodka sauce, 'k? Great.

This past week NJ got hit with a lovely snow storm that closed school. While most people were probably excited to sleep in, or catch up on their DVRd shows, or read a good book, I was excited to make this recipe. I had it bookmarked but knew it was a bit time consuming, so I was saving it for a day I had time to play around in the kitchen. This recipe is EASY to make- the oven does all the work for you, but it is time consuming.

The verdict?! Well worth the time. I loved it. Slow roasting the tomatoes really brings out the flavor and adds a level of depth to the sauce. The sauce came out a bit thick, and I could have thinned it out with more cream but I didn't want to add the extra fat. Next time I'd puree the tomatoes more in my food processor to thin it out. Even with it thick it was delicious. My only regret? Halving the recipe. I wish I made the whole thing and froze half the sauce! It's that good.

Source: So Tasty, So Yummy
Serves 4-6

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 ridged pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano (can substitute 1 tbsp. dried)
¾ to 1 cup light 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, remove the tomatoes from the juice in the can 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.


  1. I absolutely love this recipe, you are right, you shouldn't have halved it. It takes vodka sauce to a new level.

  2. Sounds like a great way to spend your time on a snow day.

  3. I use to buy vodka sauce from Joe Leone's in Point Pleasant.. but I am going to have to try this, it sounds and looks amazing!!!

  4. Looks delish! I just wanted to tell you how awesome your pics of late have been. Love your blog.

  5. Katie- Thank you SO much! I've been really working on them- I'm glad you can tell the difference lol!

  6. This looks really really good, but I don't want to use vodka...any non-alcohol suggestions? I know that it should bake out, but we don't drink much and don't want to buy the vodka for just one dish.

  7. Hi Abby,

    I actually don't drink alcohol at all, so I know your concerns. Depending on your reasons for not wanting alcohol, it does cook out 100%. Also, they sell vodka in VERY small containers too, I bought one that was 8 ounces, or 1 cup. That would be used completely in this recipe. It was cheap too. Also, it stores in the freezer forever.

    However, if you don't want to use alcohol you can just leave it out. When you deglaze the pan before adding the tomatoes maybe just use chicken broth. I don't think it will majorly impact the taste but I can't say so with 100% confidence.

  8. I really like your vodka sauce recipe. Thanks for the good eats!

  9. this looks amazing! i love pasta with vodka sauce..very comforting and creamy. yum!

  10. I need to try this asap!!! I can't thank Jen Fay enough for talking about your blog to me! She's always raving about it, and now I can see why!!! Your recipes are amazing!

  11. Courtney, that's so sweet! Thank you!