Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 cup heavy cream or (to be healthier) fat-free half-and-half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 375F.
Heat the olive oil in a large 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 and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half. Add tomatoes to pot. 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 it cool for 15 minutes.
This is what it'll look like, concentrated down into its essential crispy-edged nomminess.
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. Reheat the sauce on low heat, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer a few more minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and stir until coated. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.