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Penne Alla Vodka

  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 2½ cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound penne, such as DeCecco
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a medium (11-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for just one minute.  Add the vodka and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is reduced by half.   With clean hands, crush each tomato into the pot.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.  Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 1½ hours.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

Pour the tomato mixture into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth.  (You can also use a blender.)  Return the tomato mixture to the pot.  Add the fresh oregano, cream, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes.  Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.  Off the heat, stir in ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and serve hot sprinkled with extra Parmesan and fresh oregano.

Copyright 2020, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

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