If you’ve ever been to Carbone in lower Manhattan, you know just how delicious their modern take is on Italian American classic dishes. The most famous dish that has become a fan favorite is the Spicy Rigatoni, which features their boozy vodka sauce. It’s truly decadent and delicious, and it kicked up a notch using Calabrian chilis. However, the real secret behind the powerhouse flavor are the slow cooked onions that are caramelized to perfection before they’re blended up with parmesan cheese. Here’s how to made this seriously addicting pasta.
What You Need
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups onions, finely chopped
2 to 4 tablespoon crushed Calabrian chilies in oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
1/4 cup vodka
1 cup heavy cream
kosher salt, to taste
1 pound lumaconi pasta
1 1/2 cup grates Parmesan
What To Do
In a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, place the butter until it has fully melted. Toss in the onions and cook until they are golden brown and caramelized. This should take about 18-20 minutes. Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic and chilies until they have become fragrant. Place about 2 tablespoons of the onion mixture into a separate bowl and set it aside.
Put the tomato paste in the pot and cook until it has darkened and thickened up a bit, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes in with their liquid and vodka, making sure to scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pot and bring the whole thing to a simmer.
Cook the mixture and break up the tomatoes until the sauce has become thicker and the tomatoes have fully broken down. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and add in the heavy cream until it has fully mixed in.
Using an immersion blender, blend until the sauce is fully smooth. Return the sauce to the pot.
In a separate pot, add salt to a pot of boiling water and cook the pasta until it has reached al dente. Save 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water before you drain the pasta.
Bring the sauce to a simmer over a medium-low heat and then add 1/2 cup pasta water and the Parmesan cheese. Mix together until it has fully incorporated. Add pasta water as needed, 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the consistency you want. Season to taste.
Add in the onion mixture and the pasta to the sauce and mix thoroughly until the pasta is fully coated. Serve and add Parmesan on top as desired.