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Penne with Sweet Vermouth and Cream Sauce

Penne with Sweet Vermouth and Cream Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 shallot, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes or ground pepperoncini 

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste or tomato paste

  • 1 cup sweet vermouth

  • One 28-ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes

  • A few leaves fresh basil, torn

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley

  • Zest of 1 small orange

  • 1 pound penne rigate

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Serves: 4

Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. 

Heat a large deep skillet with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat and melt butter into oil. Add shallots and garlic and swirl or stir 2 minutes. Add red pepper, salt and tomato paste, then add the sweet vermouth and reduce 3 minutes or so. Add crushed tomatoes. When they bubble and heat through, add basil and wilt into sauce, then reduce heat to low and stir in cream. 

Chop the parsley together with the zest of a small orange to make a simple gremolata. 

Salt the boiling water and cook pasta 1 minute less than directions, about 8 minutes. Reserve ½ cup water and drain. Add pasta back to hot pot with butter, half the sauce, the ½ cup water and cheese. Toss with tongs for 1 minute, then plate family-style or in shallow individual bowls. Top with remaining sauce and the gremolata.