Cook Time: 20/30 Minutes
1 pound pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or spaghetti are good options)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, chopped or ½ yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2/4 fresh basil leaves
Begin by preparing the sauce. In a skillet, add some of the olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic until the ingredients soften.
Add the tomato paste, and once it darkens, add the vodka and stir constantly until most of the liquid is evaporated. This deglazes the pan and imparts the flavor of the tomato into the liquid.
Add the cream and red pepper flakes and stir all of the ingredients together. Keep the heat on low while you begin making the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, once the water is boiled, add a generous amount of salt to the water. Don’t be afraid to liberally add salt - it should taste like the sea.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until the pasta is al dente. Be sure to reserve some of the pasta water after the pasta is cooked.
Add pasta, butter and some of the pasta water to the skillet. Stir until a thick sauce is formed and all of the butter is melted. Then, top with salt, pepper, chopped basil, and Parmesan. Toss to combine.
Divide pasta among bowls, and top with additional Parmesan, basil leaves and olive oil.