- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 ounces vodka
- ¾ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 pound rigatoni
- fresh basil leaves, hand torn (for serving)
- Fill a large soup pot three-quarters full with water over high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
- Heat 2 tablespoons. oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion sauté 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly to make sure garlic does not burn. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes and stir until paste evenly coats onion. Continue to cook, stirring often, 5–7 minutes. Add vodka to deglaze pan and stir to incorporate, scraping bottom of pot. Reduce heat to low. Using a heatproof glass measuring cup, scoop about ¼ cup boiling water from pot, then add ¾ cup heavy cream to measuring cup. Slowly add warmed cream to Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to Dutch oven with the vodka sauce. Add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and stir to incorporate, gradually add half of Parmesan, stirring constantly to melt cheese. Season with salt and add a splash more pasta cooking liquid to thin sauce, if needed. Top with remaining cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Finish with fresh basil. Enjoy!