Penne Alla Vodka

Serves: 4


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (can also use crushed tomatoes)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 4 tbs fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup cashew cream (1/2 cup raw cashews + 1/2 cup water blended in a blender until smooth)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more to top pasta)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
  5. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper.
  6. 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.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
  8. Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
  9. Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. 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 little fresh oregano on each plate.

Variations & Notes:

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