Fusilli alla Vodka Sauce

Serves 4

Rich and decadent, this pasta with vodka sauce puts a little spark in Valentine’s Day!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon hot red pepper paste (or more if you wish)
1 cup puréed fresh or canned plum tomatoes
¼ cup vodka
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
½ pound penne rigate (penne with lines) or rigatoni
Fine sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons reserved cooking water from the pasta

1. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the red pepper paste and cook about 1 minute over medium heat.

2. Add the tomatoes and vodka; cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring

3. Lower the heat, slowly pour in the cream and cook over low heat for an additional
5 minutes. Add half the cheese, cover and keep the sauce warm.

4. Cook the penne in 4–6 quarts of rapidly boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the penne, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

5. Transfer the penne and reserved cooking water to the sauce; stir well over medium heat until hot. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and stir to blend. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.