Pasta alla Vodka Sauce

I've become kind of obsessed with this Bon Appetit recipe for fusilli alla vodka. I've made it enough times that I no longer need to look at the recipe (not that it's that difficult) but I've also made a few modifications, including using rigatoni, adding peas, and baking it, which yields a deliciously crisp pasta with that baked-in-sauce taste. It's divine.

This makes a delicious weeknight meal because it's quick and simple but it looks and tastes luxe.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 pound pasta
¼ cup olive oil
½ onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
¼ to ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup grated Parmesan
*recipe has been modified to my preferences; original recipe is linked above
Start by finely chopping onion and mincing garlic.
Add a generous glug of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, crushed pepper flakes, and black pepper and cook until the onions are softened.
Add tomato paste and press into the oil and onions. Stir constantly for a few minutes until the tomato paste is lightly caramelized.
Add in vodka and stand back. Use a lighter to ignite the fumes and let the alcohol burn off and then stir to combine.
Pour in a few glugs of heavy cream and stir until a delicious, creamy sauce forms. Reduce the heat to low and leave the sauce to just keep warm.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just shy of al dente (short cut pasta like fusilli usually takes 8 minutes; cook for about 6 minutes). Before draining, reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
Pour the pasta into the sauce and toss to coat. Stir in a pat of butter until glossy and add cheese. If the sauce is too thick, add in pasta water to loosen it up.
Serve hot and enjoy.
Because the sauce is made with tomato paste, it's sweet and gives it a slow-cooked taste. It's creamy and decadent without being too over the top and even though I don't really like red sauce, this is one of my new favorite pastas.
If you're in a baked pasta mood, cook the pasta as described above but toss in some peas (frozen is fine), pour into a baking dish in layers, alternating pasta and grated parmesan, and then bake in a 400F oven for 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Baked ziti, eat your heart out.
Here's the recipe page:

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