Two super easy and delicious Italian sauces- Tomato and Vodka

Marcella Hazans simple tomato sauce is so easy to make its almost sinful. Tomatoes (fresh or canned) an onion and a stick of butter, that’s it. I love using this basic recipe as my go to pasta sauce, it freezes beautifully and is so delicious. Here’s how you make it!


2 + lbs fresh tomatoes (peeled and quartered) or two 28 oz cans peeled whole tomatoes (crushed tomatoes also work well)

1 onion peeled and cut in half

1 stick butter

salt and pepper to taste

Break up the tomatoes by hand or in a food mill, add to 4 or 5 qt pot with the onion halves and stick of butter. Bring to a boil then reduce to low heat and cook uncovered for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally.

Vodka sauce, couldn’t be easier. Tomato paste, cream, garlic, vodka and cheese that’s all, its silky, rich and delicious. Recommend a shorter pasta like rigatoni for this sauce. Get the recipe here:


4.5 oz (1small can or tube) tomato paste

2 cloves garlic finely minced or grated

1 small shallot minced

olive oil (to coat pan)

crushed red pepper flakes (a pinch)

2 oz vodka

1 1/2-2 cups heavy cream

1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb rigatoni or your choice of pasta (reserve a cup of pasta water)

basil for garnish

Bring large pot of water to a boil, add copious amount of salt (approximately 1 tbs) add the rigatoni stirring to separate cook al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a pan, saute the garlic and shallot until softened not browned. Add the tomato paste and crushed red pepper flakes and cook stirring so it does not burn, you just want to lightly caramelize the tomato paste. Add the vodka stirring to combine and then the heavy cream, continue cooking for a few minutes. Turn off heat and add the cheese and some of the reserved pasta water if needed, it the sauce seems too thick add the pasta water. Drain the rigatoni and add to the pan with the vodka sauce, add approximately 1/2 c pasta water and cook just a minute or two so the pasta is coated with and absorbs some of that delicious sauce, garnish with basil and more grated cheese.

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2 comments on “Two super easy and delicious Italian sauces- Tomato and Vodka

  1. Jeff says:

    Oh… The vodka sauce is going on my to-do list. Thanks!

    1. Suzanne says:

      Thanks Jeff and hope you enjoy 😊

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