Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Rigatoni Alla Vodka

In the realm of comforting recipes, there's one dish that stands out as more than just a culinary delight – it's a journey, a celebration of togetherness, and a testament to the magic that happens in the heart of the kitchen. Today, we're diving into the soul-warming world of Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce, a recipe that not only fills your belly but also warms your heart.

Act I: The Prelude of Aromas As you preheat the oven to 375 degrees, there's a gentle excitement in the air. The medium Dutch oven sits on the stove, ready to transform simple ingredients into a symphony of flavors. The aroma of good olive oil embracing chopped yellow onions fills the kitchen, setting the stage for a heartwarming performance.

Act II: The Dance of Onions and Garlic Watch as the onions gracefully dance into translucency, sharing the spotlight with minced garlic, dried oregano, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Every sizzle and stir tell a story of love and care, creating a foundation that will carry the dish into a crescendo of flavors.

Intermission: Simmering Elegance Enter the vodka, the elegant character in our culinary play. As it simmers, the kitchen becomes a stage for reduction, each minute allowing the flavors to intertwine and deepen. It's not just about the reduction of liquids; it's the condensation of love and anticipation.

Act III: The Oven's Embrace With clean hands, crush each tomato into the pot, adding kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The pot is covered, and into the oven it goes for 1½ hours. This is the quiet intermission, where the oven's warmth blankets the dish in a slow, gentle embrace. It's a time for flavors to meld and transform.

Finale: The Symphony Unveiled The pasta takes its turn on the stage as a large pot of water comes to a boil. Cooked to perfection, it waits patiently to join the grand finale. The tomato mixture whirls in a food processor, returning to the pot with fresh oregano, cream, salt, and pepper. As it simmers, the kitchen becomes a theater of anticipation.

Curtain Call: Parmesan Rain and Oregano Whispers As the pasta joins the sauce, it's a reunion of textures and flavors. The Parmesan cheese is the final touch, a sprinkle of love that ties everything together. As you serve this heartwarming dish, shower it with extra Parmesan and fresh oregano. Each plate becomes a canvas, a masterpiece of love ready to be shared.

Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce is more than a recipe; it's a celebration of love, togetherness, and the joy found in a shared meal. As you savor each bite, remember the moments spent in the kitchen, the aromas that filled the air, and the anticipation that made your heart skip a beat. This dish is not just food; it's a recipe for love. Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 2½ cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound Rigatoni, such as from Nicoletto's Pasta Co.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat the oil in a medium (11-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for just one minute.  Add the vodka and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is reduced by half.   With clean hands, crush each tomato into the pot.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.  Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 1½ hours.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.
Pour the tomato mixture into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth.  (You can also use a blender.)  Return the tomato mixture to the pot.  Add the fresh oregano, cream, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes.  Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.  Off the heat, stir in ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and serve hot sprinkled with extra Parmesan and fresh oregano.
Recipe inspired by Barefoot Contessa. 
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