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4.8 from 5 votes

Vegan Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Yields: 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 smallish white or yellow onions, chopped, or 1 large (2 1/2 cups after preparation)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1 lb rigatoni, penne, or another short pasta shape
  • 1 cup cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, divided
  • 6 tablespoons vegan parmesan, for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep, ovenproof sauté pan that has a tight-fitting lid (you can substitute a Dutch oven). Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 more minute. Add the vodka and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is reduced by half.
  • Drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands or using a handheld potato masher. Add the salt and black pepper. Cover the pan with its lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  • Place the tomato mixture and the cashew cream into a blender and purée in batches until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy. (Careful while you blend, since hot liquids like to splatter.) Add most of the sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta, along with one tablespoon of the fresh oregano. Heat the pasta and sauce over low heat for about 5-8 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed the sauce and thickened up. Add the remaining sauce as needed; I usually end up using all of it, but I add most of it at the beginning and the rest as I heat and stir.
  • Divide the pasta onto plates and top each with a sprinkle of fresh oregano and a tablespoon of your vegan parmesan. Enjoy!


Recipe can be halved. 
If you like, you can prepare the sauce in advance and store it for up to four days in the fridge. To serve, boil your pasta and add the sauce to the drained pasta with fresh oregano as instructed in step four. 
Pasta sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month.