This Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola pasta dish is one of the most popular posts on my blog. I originally published it on September 16, 2015. Since then I received number of comments and questions that I would like to address. Below are Frequently Asked Questions and my answers to them. If you feel like I didn’t answer all of them please leave a comment. Also the tomatoes season is approaching here in New York so I feel like it is an appropriate time to bring this recipe back to live.
After the FAQ section you will see a step by step guide on how to make this amazing Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PENNE ALLA VECCHIA BETTOLA:
When do you add vodka?
See first step below.
What do I replace vodka if I don’t want to use it?
You can skip it or use some white wine. The taste will be a little bit different though.
What temperature it should be cooked on the stove?
It should be cooked on medium high heat.
Can the sauce be made ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely. Keep it in a fridge and heat up when ready to serve.
HERE IS A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO MAKE PENNE ALLA VECCHIA BETTOLA:
First: Sauté onions with garlic, red chili pepper flakes and oregano. Cook until soft and translucent. Add vodka and cook for about 7 minutes.
Then wash and cut up tomatoes into cubes. (Aren’t they beautiful?)
Place the tomatoes/onions mix in the blender and process until smooth.
Return the sauce to your pan, add heavy cream, mix and cook for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, shred some good quality Parmegiano Reggiano. It is really important to have a good quality, freshly shredded cheese. The taste and texture will be totally different if you use processed store bought pre-shredded cheese with questionable quality.
Add the cheese to the sauce and stir until combined. Check for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
Cook pasta according to instructions, but one minute less. Add almost cooked pasta to your sauce and mix it well. You want to finish cooking pasta in the sauce.
And here it is, smooth, velvety, absolutely delicious Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola with homegrown Roma Tomateos.
Sprinkle some more cheese, black pepper and parsley on top and enjoy.
You should serve it immediately for best taste and texture.
However I had leftovers and we heated it up the next day for lunch, and it was still super delicious.
PENNE ALLA VECCHIA BETTOLA
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 yellow onion medium , chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes(depending on how spicy you like it)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup vodka
- 12-15 Roma tomatoes(depending on size), diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheeseshredded
- 3/4 pound penne pasta
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parsley or fresh oregano to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375F
In a oven proof skillet heat up olive oil, add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent
Add garlic and chili flakes and oregano and cook for another minute
Add vodka and let it cook until reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes
In the meantime cut up the tomatoes
Add to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes
Cover the pan with the fitted lid and transfer to the oven
Roast for 1 hour and a half
Cook pasta according to instructions but 1 minute less (you want to finish cooking it in the sauce)
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and puree in a blender (be careful to cover the blender tightly with kitchen towels and do not fill up more than 1/3rd at the time)
Once all the sauce is blended, place it in the pan and add cream
Mix together and let cook for about 3 minutes
Add grated cheese and season with salt and pepper
Add pasta to the sauce, mix well and let it cook for another minute
Sprinkle with fresh herbs, more cheese and pepper and serve immediately.