1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup vodka
3/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk
1 pound short cut pasta
3 tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, cook 4-5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the vodka, cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the pesto and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
- To the vodka sauce, add the pasta, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, and the butter, tossing until the butter has melted. Add the parmesan and basil. If needed, thin the sauce with additional pasta cooking water.
- Divide the pasta among plates and top with basil and cheese. Enjoy!
To Replace the Vodka: use an equal amount of chicken or vegetable broth.
To Make Ahead: prepare the alla vodka sauce through step 1. The sauce can be made 4 days ahead of time and chilled in the fridge. To serve, warm on the stove, follow the directions through step 2.
To Freeze: the alla vodka sauce can be made, then frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw, then use as directed.