A Word From The Cook

“Canned tomatoes can be used to make puree or a store bought puree can be substituted for fresh tomatoes – 6 cups of Puree is needed.”


Prep Time:

1 hour


6-8 people


  • 10-12 fresh ripe Plum or Roma tomatoes
  • 1 fresh clove garlic
  • 1 small onion (or scallion if preferred)
  • 4-5 thick slices of Pancetta (1/8 inch thick)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup unflavored Vodka
  • 1 package penne pasta (1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  1. Step 1 – Prepare Tomato Purée
    1. Score tops and bottoms of each tomato in a crissed-cross motion.
    2. Boil tomatoes in a large pot for about 20 minutes, until tender to the prick of a fork and skins are turning away where you’ve scored them.
    3. Allow tomatoes to cool then remove skins from tomatoes. Also remove any tough ends and yellow or stringy parts of tomato (seeds are ok).
    4. Put prepared tomatoes and garlic clove into a blender, blend until smooth.
    5. Set aside the puree while you prepare the Pancetta.
  2. Step 2 – Mince and Brown the Pancetta
    1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the onion and pancetta until finely minced.
    2. Put mixture into a large, heavy, hot sauté pan and cook over med heat until browned. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes.
    3. Add tomato purée to the browned pancetta and onion mixture, simmer (partially covered) for 30 minutes.
    4. Add vodka and pepper flakes and allow sauce to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  3. Step 3 – Boil Penne and Finish Sauce
    1. Boil pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente (8-9 minutes), drain and return to pot to keep it warm. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to avoid sticking.
    2. After vodka has been in sauce for 10 minutes, add heavy cream slowly while stirring. Incorporate well and stir until sauce begins to simmer again.
    3. Add pasta to pan and drag it through the sauce to cover pasta completely.
    4. Serve immediately with shaved parmesan on top