Recipe: Rigatoni Vodka & Saltimbocca alla Romana

We're cooking up some Italian classics, New York style! A Rigatoni Vodka described as "The Best Vodka Sauce Ever, Period"! Plus ‘Saltimbocca alla Romana’. These were shared all the way from Italy, via Ellis Island and Jersey City, by Paul Varsalona, whose restaurant 'Esposito's' has been named 'Best Italian' two years running by Tampa Magazine.

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Rigatoni Vodka


  • 1 lb rigatoni (Paul Varsalona prefers DeCecco or Barilla)

  • 2 oz olive oil

  • 3/4 tbsp fresh minced garlic

  • 1.5 oz vodka

  • 1 oz San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

  • 1 oz tomato purée

  • pinch salt

  • pinch dry oregano

  • fresh basil

  • 6 oz heavy whipping cream (Paul Varsalona suggests 36%)

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 2 oz Parmesan Romano cheese, grated

  • 1 egg yolk

  • fresh parsley, to taste


Add salt to boiling water and cook pasta according to instructions on package. In a saucepan, add olive oil and minced garlic. After garlic starts to brown slightly (about 20 seconds), add vodka, then let it cook off.

Add San Marzano tomatoes, tomato purée, salt, oregano, and fresh basil. Following these, add heavy whipping cream and butter, stir until sauce takes on a pink color. Once sauce boils, add grated Parmesan and turn off heat. Mix in rigatoni and add pasta water if needed.

Finally, add egg yolk (again, off heat), mix and toss pasta in sauce and plate. Finish with fresh parsley and a little more Parmesan.

Paul Varsalona tells us "This is a North Jersey/NY style Vodka sauce, the way it should be!"

Veal Saltimbocca


  • arugula, enough for small salad

  • 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • veal cutlets (approx. 2 oz per person)

  • fresh sage, enough to cover one side of veal

  • prosciutto, enough to cover one side of veal

  • 2 ½ cup flour

  • olive oil

  • 2-3 oz wine

  • 2 ½ tbsp butter

  • 2-3 oz pasta water

  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste

  • Parmesan, to taste

  • squeeze of lemon


Assemble arugula and cherry tomatoes on plate. Pound fresh sage and prosciutto into veal cutlets and dust veal with flour.

Place veal, prosciutto side down, in saucepan with olive oil and let cook one minute before turning over.

Once you turn veal over, add wine to pan and 2 tbsp butter. Then add pasta water.

Place veal onto plate, and turn off heat under pan. Drop remaining ½ tbsp butter into ½ cup flour and drop into sauce. Mix quickly and then pour sauce over veal.

Finish with fresh cracked pepper, Parmesan, a little olive oil, and squeeze of lemon.

Some quantities in this recipe are based on size of veal cutlets and number of servings you want to make.

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