This is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this recipe is my go-to when making it at home. The sauce is creamy and sweet, and the acidity from the tomato paste really brightens up the sauce. Omitted are canned crushed or diced tomatoes - this is intentional. The tomato paste brings it all to the table, while just a little bit of salted pasta water loosens it up to the perfect consistency.
5 tbsp. of tomato & basil butter
2 Shallots (or an onion), minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
Tomato paste (double concentrated!), 5 oz
4 tbsp of vodka
heavy cream, 1/2 cup
Parmesan, 1/2 cup (freshly grated, the more the merrier!)
salt to taste
crushed red pepper and fresh ground pepper to serve
1) Get your pasta water salted and boiling
Fill your pot with water and get it started. Season the water with salt to the point where it tastes almost like ocean water. Trust me, it will make the difference with the sauce.
2) Get your prep work going
Mince your shallots/onion, and garlic.
3) Heat Butter in your pan/pot
I love using my lodge red dutch oven for pasta sauces, so I can throw my pasta right in and serve family style, but any large pan will do just fine. The key is to have a pan with enough surface area to equally cook your shallots and garlic, so don't use a small sauce pot. Throw your 5 tbsp of tomato & basil butter in, and heat on medium for 1 minute.
4) Throw in your shallots and garlic
Throw in the minced shallots and garlic, and stir until they become translucent - about 4-5 minutes. If you'd like a little bit of heat in your sauce, toss in some red pepper flakes
5) Mix in tomato paste
Spoon in your tomato paste, and incorporate it with the shallots and garlic. Stir frequently, while keeping an eye on it for another 4-5 minutes.
6) De-glaze with vodka
Add in your vodka and breathe in the sweet aroma that is the result of alcohol hitting a hot pan. Stir, and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
7) Add in pasta water
Add in about 2 big ladles of pasta water. This may seem like a lot, but trust me, it will help to loosen up the sauce.
8) Add in cream
Slowly add in your heavy cream, and then your parmesan. Stir and add salt to taste.
9) Toss in your pasta and enjoy
Serve with more parmesan and fresh basil!