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Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka

Difficulty Level: Easy

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2-4 servings


  • 1/2 lb. mezzi rigatoni or any other short pasta

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 4 tbsp. salted butter

  • 6 oz. tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp. crushed Calabrian chili pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 cup vodka

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

  • Pasta water as needed


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and stir in the sliced onions. Sweat the onions, covered, over low heat for about 45 minutes until completely cooked and translucent. Check in every 5-10 minutes to stir and make sure the onions aren't turning brown.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding plenty of salt. Cook the pasta until it's al dente.

  3. Add the tomato paste, crushed Calabrian chili and salt to the pot with the onions. Stir and let sit on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste deepens in color.

  4. Add 1/4 cup of vodka to deglaze. Stir until the vodka has fully evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and grated Parmigiano.

  6. Strain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

  7. Add the pasta to a large sauté pan along with the spicy vodka sauce and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss on high heat until the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed, 1/4 cup at a time.

  8. Top with more grated Parmigiano.


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