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Playing Penne with Vodka Sauce, Pearl Onions and Peas


  • 1 bag fresh red or white pearl onions
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 box penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup baby peas, a small handful
  • 1/4 cup tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced or torn
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


Serves: 4


Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Add pearl onions and boil 3 minutes. Drain, cool and trim root ends. Pop onions out of the skins.

Place a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta.

Heat a deep saucepan or skillet over medium heat with EVOO and butter. Add onions and garlic to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Add vodka and reduce a minute or 2. Add tomatoes and stir. Heat through then add cream and let reduce at a low, bubbling simmer while pasta cooks.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente and drain.

Add peas and herbs to pasta sauce and stir to heat through, 1-2 minutes. Add pasta to sauce and toss 1 minute to combine. Serve pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.