Recipe time: Ina's Penne alla vecchia bettola


This recipe is from Ina's cookbook Foolproof and is her version of penne alla vodka (actually, it's from Nick and Toni's East Hampton restaurant but she had permission to share it!).  I made it first for my in-laws and they loved it (and they can be a tough crowd, those New Yorkers:). We made it again this weekend and it was just as delicious.  It really is foolproof. It will definitely be our go-to meal when friends come over.  It's yummy and unbelievably easy.

I made a few subtle changes and I'm listing my adapted version but you can find the real version here.  I basically cut out the steps that required the most effort (like blending) {lazy cook}!  But it didn't seem to matter either time, trust me!

Penne alla vecchia bettola, adapted from Ina G.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups finely chopped Spanish onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 ish cloves)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka (mmmm!)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 box penne pasta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus some extra for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until translucent.  Add red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook another minute.  Add vodka and simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Pour both cans of tomatoes into the pan.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cover, place in oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

That's it for a while. Now go play on Pinterest.

Have some wine:)

Snap some pictures.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt generously and cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and set aside.

Remove Dutch oven from oven.  Add fresh oregano, cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to tomato mixture and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes.  Add pasta and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and serve hot sprinkled with extra Parmesan and oregano.

It's delicious and makes enough for an army.  Serve it up with a delicious salad and a great bottle of wine. So good!


  1. Oh my - I have not tried this one yet. I wish I could grab a bowl of this through the screen.

  2. Yum! I'm always looking for new pasta recipes! I could eat pasta every day!

  3. This looks SO yummy! Bookmarking it for sure!

  4. Yum!!! I think I am definitely going to try this one! I need to get her new cookbook too!

  5. Oh my!! This looks absolutely delicious. Especially now...since I'm eating a turkey sandwich and goldfish.