Smoky Pasta alla Vodka

Author Notes: Adapted from Colu Henry’s Back Pocket Pasta.

‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable salami from Calabria. I found mine at Whole Foods. Eataly sells it, as does Amazon. (…more) —Alexandra Stafford

Serves 4

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4pound pasta
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1medium yellow onion
  • 2cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4ounces ‘nduja, optional (see notes)
  • 3/4cup vodka
  • 28ounces can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or whole, see notes)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 3/4cup heavy cream
  • 1/4cup grate Parmigiano Reggiano or Grano Padano, plus more for serving
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped oregano (see notes)
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped parsley (see notes)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the ‘nduja (if using) and cook, stirring until it begins to melt, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vodka to skillet and cook for 2 minutes more to reduce by half. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the cream, and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the pasta and grated cheese directly to the skillet and toss to coat.
  5. Plate in bowls and top with the oregano and parsley. Top with additional cheese and salt and pepper, if desired.