• 28 oz. whole San Marzano tomatoes, undrained
  • Olive Oil for pan
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped (8 leaves for start and 4 for finish)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka (we like Titos handmade)
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne or Rigatoni
  • Fresh parsley, torn
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Optional ingredients:

  • Sweet Italian Sausage or chicken breasts, seasoned with salt/pepper and oregano. We grill both and serve with the final dish. I don’t mix them in the hot pan to leave it open to freeze additional sauce.


  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil and saute for 1-2 minutes, until softened and then reduce heat to low.
  • Add the vodka to the pan and stir, allowing it to sizzle and begin to cook off. You’ll then raise the heat to a medium flame and reduce the vodka until there’s a small portion of liquid left.
  • Next you’ll add in the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. I like a little texture and choose to cook them straight from the can (no blending) and mash them as I go. You could prior blend them on a low setting, to create a totally smooth texture in the sauce. Let everything simmer for approx. 40 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce and become thicker in texture. Once this texture is achieved, you’ll know you’re ready for the next step.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Cook the pasta to aldente while the sauce is reducing. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, and set pasta aside.
  • Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce and stir.
  • Add in the heavy cream, remaining basil, Parmesan and last pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  • Season again with salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Place the chicken or sausage over the pasta in serving bowls if you added this step.
  • Serve the sauce over the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and additional Parmesan cheese if you like.
  • Make a stiff vodka drink and enjoy!