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Welcome to Michael's by Michael McCarty
No Brooklyn Italian restaurant is complete without this classic creamy tomato dish. We blend almonds into the sauce to get that expected creaminess and a little fresh basil to bring it home.

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4


    • 1 teaspoons olive oil
    • 4 cloves minced garlic
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup vodka
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • A few dashes fresh black pepper
    • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, plus a little extra for garnish
    • 1/2 pound penne


Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Preheat a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the saucepan and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the crushed tomatoes, vodka, thyme, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cover, and turn the heat up a bit to bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, Meanwhile, add pasta to the water and cook according to package directions.

Once the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the almonds. Use an immersion blender to blend the almonds into the sauce until creamy and only slightly grainy. The pasta should be done by now, so drain and set aside. Add the basil to the sauce, and mix the sauce and pasta together in the pot. Serve, garnished with a little extra chopped basil.

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