Makes about 8 servings. Total time: 2.5 hours.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (spanish/yellow), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup vodka
  • two 28-oz cans peeled tomatoes (san marzano tomatoes work great. you can optionally sub one can for 14oz diced tomatoes)
  • 4 Tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • grated parmesean/pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Optional for serving:

  • pasta
  • asparagus/mushrooms/sausage (sauteed and added to pasta)


Preheat oven to 375F.

Heat olive oil on the stovetop in a large oven-proof pan (dutch oven works great). Cook onions and garlic for 5 min until translucent, then add red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and cayenne, and cook for 1 minute more. Add vodka, then cook until mixture is reduced by half (about 5 min).

Drain one can of tomatoes. Add all tomatoes to pan, crushing by-hand as you do so. Also add the juice from the remaining can. Add salt and pepper to pan.

Cover the pan with a lid and bake in oven for 1.5 hours. If you are making pasta or other add-ins, start them at the end of the cooking time.

Remove pot from oven, then blend with blender/food processor/immersion blender until it is smooth. If you want to be safe, let it cool a bit first, but you should be able to blend it hot. Return the sauce to the pan.

Reheat sauce on stove, add fresh basil, heavy cream, and a generous handful of grated cheese (adjust the amount of cream/cheese to your desired consistency & taste).