Sunday Supper {Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola}

Oh my stars.  I have no words for the deliciousness that is Ina’s Penna Alla Vecchia Bettola.  This sort of put-on-your-elastic-waist-band-pants-so-you-can-fit-in-another-helping type of dish doesn’t  regularly grace my table.

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I’m a little obsessed with my first Ina cookbook *gasp* that Mother and Daddy-O gave me for Christmas.  I mean, I’ve always loved her, but now my DVR is full of her episodes and I’m contemplating a kind of Julie and Julia sort of cook my way through her cookbook endeavor.  I mean, I’m kind of on a roll seeing as I knocked her crazy good Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruchetta off the list last week.  (Side note… that is one of my all.time.favorite movies.  I know!?!  I’m probably the only person in the universe with that one on their list.)

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
Source: Ina Garten
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (I hunted down the San Marzanos in Publix)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne pasta (I used wheat, because I had it already.  Any health benefit was obvi offset by the cream.)
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add
the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the
red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka
and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

3. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan
with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. 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.

4. 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 puree in batches until the sauce is
a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
5. Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. 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 sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

At this point I was totally on a cooking-high and never wanted this fabulous meal to end.  So, I whipped up these Individual Microwave Apple Crisps in no time flat!

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Now, you must all pinky promise that you’ll try that pasta!!!
xoxo

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Supper {Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola}

  1. You are not the only one who loves Julie and Julia. It is one of my faves as well. And that pasta looks de-lish!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have seen that movie four different countries. One of my friends, Pam Krauss, was/is Ina's cookbook editor. She (Pam) is now v.p. for Clarkson Potter, but she still works with Ina. She told me a lot of behind-the-scenes secrets. Here's a good one – Jeffrey and Ina are really that much in love and really act like that when the cameras aren't rolling. I heard Ina speak in D.C. last year with our son's girlfriend. She was great and told a story about her baked chicken. It inspires men to propose. We told our son the story behind the chicken, and he proposed four days later!!! He had it planned all along, but the timing was perfect.

  3. I've said for a long time that I wanted to be Ina Garten when I grow up! Have loved her forever. It appears that she adores Jeffrey and vice-versa…love that too!

    I cannot tell you how many times I've seen Julie & Julia. Have the movie + it's on TV occasionally.

    I'd say you knocked this one out of the park too! Looks delish ~

    xo
    Pat

  4. I loved that movie too—-so much that it inspired me to read the book. I think you would love the book too. The move is more PG13 than the book, but still it is a very interesting read.

  5. That vodka cream sauce is one of our favorites! The recipe actually comes from a famous NYC restaurant which of course the name escapes me. Ina did a great segment with the owners and their most popular sauce. I like it the next day even more!

  6. Janette – I am definitely going to look up that chicken!! I always say that I want to come back as Jeffrey in my next life :-)

    Ashley – I'll add those to my must make list. I have her marcona almonds on there too.

  7. YAY!!! so so glad to hear about your new ina obsession :) i have heard from numerous sources that this recipe is one of her finest, but have yet to make it! will be changing that stat. also not to miss in the foolproof cookbook: the app with the crostini, whipped feta and tomatoes. OMG…i made it for a dinner party and it brought the house down.

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