Rigatoni Alla Vodka
- 1 box Banza Rigatoni (or any other shape you have on hand)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated + divided
- 1 4.5 oz tube tomato paste
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 oz vodka
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Fresh basil leaves, to garnish (if you have on hand)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil while you prepare sauce. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop onion. With the side of your knife, smash garlic and remove peel. Leave as is, or mince if desired.
Make the sauce: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, + a pinch of salt, and cook until edges begin to brown, ~6-8 min. Add entire tube of tomato paste and red pepper flakes, mixing until onions are evenly coated. Cook, stirring often, until paste turns a dark rust color, 5-6 mins. Deglaze the pot with the vodka. Stir to incorporate, scraping the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to low, then slowly pour in heavy cream while stirring constantly. Turn off heat.
Cook the pasta: Add 1 box of Banza rigatoni into the pot of salted water, cook until very al dente. Before straining pasta, use a heat proof measuring cup to reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
All together now: Transfer pasta straight into Dutch oven. Add half of the pasta water and mix until incorporated. Slowly add in 3 oz. parm, constantly mixing, until cheese is fully melted and sauce is glossy. Add a splash of the remaining pasta water if you need to thin out your sauce.
Divide pasta among bowls, top with remaining parm, a drizzle of olive oil, and torn basil leaves. Mangia!
A good cocktail is the perfect cooking companion, so Emerald also shared an idea for what to do while you're waiting for your pasta to cook and you have vodka out. (Three words: Kombucha Lime Highball) Whip one up yourself by mixing together 1 oz vodka, 1 Tbsp lime juice, + 1 Tbsp simple syrup in a tall glass with ice. Top off with kombucha and enjoy while you finish cookin' the sauce.