Betsy generally sautes about 1/2 lb of andouille or spicy Italian sausage first to add some meat.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. dried red chile flakes
1/3 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream
8 oz. dried penne, cooked and drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
In a large heavy-based sauté pan, (ceramic flameware works great) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. (Saute meat if using-set aside). Add more oil, then the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, and chile flakes.
Add the broth and vodka to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Lower the heat slightly, add the cream and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cooked penne to the pan, and toss to coat. Add the Parmigiano and toss over low heat just until the flavors meld and the pasta is heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using, and serve immediately. Can bake or broil to brown the top.
From Fine Cooking Magazine
by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein