First things first, yes, I'm calling this Penne alla Vodka, but I used fusilli pasta. K? I LOVE these giant fusilli from my local market, but this dish is traditionally made with penne, so I'm sticking with that name.
This Penne alla Vodka recipe could not be any easier, or more delicious to make. It is definitely a decadent dish, best reserved for a special occasion or for splurging for NO OCCASION OTHER THAN THAT YOU FEEL LIKE IT!
Penne alla Vodka
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
red chili flakes
1 pound penne or fusilli pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For serving: grated parmesan, basil
Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until softened and light brown.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain.
Stir in the tomato paste until it darkens in color and fully incorporates with the oil. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes until simmering. Add vodka and continue stirring until it has evaporated.
Stir in the diced tomatoes and heavy cream and reduce heat to medium-low. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
When sauce is thick and smooth, add the cooked, drained pasta and the butter. Toss to combine. If you need to loosen the sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of cooking water at a time until the right consistency is achieved. It should cling to the pasta, and look very smooth and glossy.
Divide between bowls and top with parmesan and basil.