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Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola (Vodka Pasta)
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5 from 8 votes

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola (Vodka Pasta)

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola or Vodka Pasta is the perfect blend of all ingredients. It produces a true restaurant quality meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 517kcal
Author: Chula King


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka (See Tip 1)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (See Tip 2)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces uncooked penne pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions (See Tip 3)
  • ½ cup Grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • Italian parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Heat the olive oil in an oven proof Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano; cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
  • Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes in a colander retaining the liquid. Remove as many of the seeds as possible. Crush the tomatoes into the Dutch oven with your hands. Add the drained liquid from the tomatoes. Add salt and freshly ground 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 purée in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan. (See Tip 4)
  • Reheat the sauce. Add the cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Correct the seasonings, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley on each plate.
  • Yield: 6 servings.


  1. Be sure to use unflavored vodka in this recipe.
  2. If possible, use canned San Marzano tomatoes. However, other varieties of canned tomatoes will also work.
  3. Feel free to substitute a different pasta for the Penne such as Ziti, Rotini, Spaghetti or Linguini.
  4. The sauce can be prepared in advance up to the point of puréeing the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Then proceed as above.


Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 679IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg