Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka Arrabbiata
Rachel Ray called it, "You Won’t be Single for Long” Penne alla Vodka. Chic East Hampton restaurant Nick and Toni’s has had it on its menu for over 20 years, model Gigi Hadid's recipe became one of the most googled topics, and the legendary Ina Garten reintroduced it as Penne alla Vecchia Bettola, sparking immense popularity. What is it about vodka sauce that makes it one of the most sought after Italian-American pasta dishes of all time? Is it because it contains alcohol, or that it’s so amazingly creamy and bright, super quick and comes together in 30 minutes? Is it that it's meatless, and is made with simple ingredients that we likely already have at home? Probably all of the above. This will be your go-to vodka sauce recipe for a Valentine’s Day at home, the perfect quick weeknight meal for busy nights, or for a family Sunday dinner.
- 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
- 5 minced garlic cloves1 teaspoon (or more) of red pepper flakes, plus more for serving, if desired
- 2 – 28 ounce cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 cup of vodka of choice
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1/2 cup of freshly chopped basil
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of half and half
- 5 tablespoons or more of freshly grated Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- Fresh black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound of rigatoni pasta
- In a large sauté pan, sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat as you normally would until translucent, then add the red pepper and stir.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and vodka and continue cooking that for 5-7 minutes until reduced a bit, while stirring to prevent it from sticking.
- Add the paste, balsamic, salt, and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and partially cover for about 20-25 minutes or until the volume is reduced by half while giving it an occasional stir.
- Stir in the heavy cream, half and half, and basil. Cook until it is warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the grated Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Separately boil the pasta in salted water, al dente according to package instructions. This will be enough sauce for about 2+ pounds of pasta. Add more grated cheese for serving with additional basil, and crushed red pepper, if desired.