Pre-Vegan, my favorite meal was Rigatoni Vodka. Whenever we went to an Italian restaurant this is what I always ordered. I would try to order something different but I just couldn’t because I loved it so much. Rich and creamy with a bit of kick from the red pepper flakes and vodka. Its the perfect comfort food and I’ve missed eating it oh so much.
I’ve made it myself a few times and it’s always been just ok. The creaminess was never up to the creamy standards I was used to in this dish. While making a cashew cheese, at home, the other day I added too much water and made this beautiful cream and I instantly thought of using it in a pasta recipe. Rigatoni Vodka was the first dish I though of. Vodka isn’t an ingredient I usually keep on hand but luckily it’s something my parents do and I was able to borrow/steal some from their freezer downstairs!
This recipe was a big hit with my family. My daughter came into the kitchen and said how amazing it smelled. I was surprised she actually tried it and was so happy that she actually liked it. My son wouldn’t try it but I mixed a bit into his pasta anyway and put a few dabs of vegan butter on his to trick him. He ate it all up!
- 1 1/2 pounds of Rigitoni Pasta, cooked according to box directions
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, small diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more for more spice!)
- 1 28oz unsalted crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup vodka
- 1 cup cashews (see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cups basil, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 5-7 more minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Carefully pour in the can of crushed plum tomatoes and vodka and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or more.
- In a high speed blender, blend the cashews and water into a cream.
- Pour into the tomato sauce, adding the sliced basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
- Mixed into cooked rigatoni and serve immediately.
- The amounts given for the cashew cream makes a lot. It creates a very thick, rich and creamy sauce. Feel free to use 1/2 a cup of cashews and 1/2 a cup of water for the cream for a slightly less rich and creamy sauce. It will still be delicious while saving on fat and calories!