A little backstory: The Husband and I love finding restaurants that not only have good food (my requirement) but also good service (his requirement). We’ve lived in the area long enough that we have a short list of favorite establishments, and one of those restaurants was an absolutely perfect hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. The food was always amazingly good (so I was happy) and the wait staff treated us like royalty, serving us complimentary garlic bread when we showed up and free shots of limoncello before we left (so he was happy).

The flavor was spot on, with just enough tomato to give the sauce a kick and yet not so much that it completely overpowered the cream and the hint of simmered vodka. I made this with penne, but I can’t wait to try it on gnocchi and ravioli and…  well, pretty much anything that’s good with sauce. Now that I can have this sauce multiple times a month again, I plan to get creative!


  •  16 oz penne
  •  35 oz italian tomatoes
  •  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 tbsp garlic minced
  •  1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  1 pinch salt to taste
  •  1 pinch black pepper to taste
  •  1/4 cup vodka
  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
  •  2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  •  3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
  • US Customary - Metric


  1. Prepare penne per package instructions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. While pasta cookes, add Italian tomatoes (and their liquid) to a food processor and pulse until sauce is smooth. Set aside.
  3. Add extra-virgin olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic to skillet and cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Slowly pour tomato sauce into skillet, stirring to incorporate with the oil. Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. .....................................

for full instruction please see :


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