Rigatoni alla Vodka
Alla Smitten Kitchen – GLORIOUS! Everyone has seen a version of this recipe…often lovingly referred to as, ‘you won’t be single for long pasta with vodka cream sauce’ – as soon as you taste it, you’ll know this to be true! I kept the original amount of pasta and vodka and otherwise doubled the sauce – what I did is below and the 4 of us wiped this out – enjoy!
500 g/ 1 lb. dried rigatoni
2 T. olive oil AND 1/4 c. butter
1 onion (or 2 shallots) finely diced
red pepper flakes to taste
~6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. vodka (I use Tito’s)
2 cans (156 mL each) tomato paste
2 t. kosher salt AND a very generous grinding of black pepper
1 c. heavy cream (though you may need a little more)
fresh basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Cook the rigatoni in well salted water until just al dente – the pasta will soak up the sauce and continue to soften up. Drain the pasta well but save 3 to 4 cups of the pasta water and set it aside.
In the same pasta pot or in a large skillet, heat up the oil and melt the butter over medium heat, then add in the onion, a good pinch of red pepper flakes and the garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion has softened. Add in the vodka and cook until it disappears, then scrape in all of the tomato paste and cook and stir for a few minutes until the paste is a shade darker.
Pour in a couple of cups of the reserved pasta water, stir well to combine and then carefully taste for seasonings – I added all of the salt and pepper and was glad I did. Now it’s your best guess as to how much more pasta water you need/want. Simmer what you have for a couple of minutes, then add in the cream, then all of the drained pasta. It takes a bit of time to work it all together without throwing the rigatoni all over the place but careful stirring will also help you assess your sauce levels – I for sure added another cup of pasta water.
Cook all together for a quick minute then serve up in large bowls and garnish as you wish – it doesn’t matter how full you feel, there will be fights over the last few bites!