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Penne with Vodka Sauce, Pearl Onions and Peas

Penne with Vodka Sauce, Pearl Onions and Peas


  • 1 bag fresh red or white pearl onions

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup vodka

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces), drained

  • 1 cup cream

  • 1 box penne rigate pasta

  • 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


Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and boil for 3 minutes. Drain, cool and trim the root ends. Pop the 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 the onions and garlic to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Add the vodka and reduce for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and stir. Heat through, then add the cream and let reduce at a low, bubbling simmer while the pasta cooks.

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

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