2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced small
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 shot of vodka (any brand)
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of pasta water plus a 1/3
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon of basil chopped
parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
1 pound of pasta. I used a combination of pastas that added up to roughly 1 box.
Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Remove the pasta from the heat while it still has 2-3 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1 and a 1/3 cup of pasta water.
In a large skillet on medium heat, saute the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove bacon bits and drain on paper towels.
Add the shallots, bell pepper and garlic to the bacon fat. Saute until the vegetables are softened.
Add in the tomato paste and continue to cook for 5 minutes. The paste will be a bright red, brick color. Add the vodka. Stir.
Allow the vodka to burn off completely. Add in the half and half, pepper flakes and the shredded cheese. Cook until the sauce is just starting to thicken up.
Add 1 cup of pasta water. Stir and allow the sauce to tighten up. Season with salt and black pepper. Add sugar.
Once the sauce is starting to tighten up, add in the cooked pasta with the remaining 1/3 pasta water. Don’t worry if you feel like its looking soupy.
Turn the heat to high and let that pasta finish cooking in the sauce. Once the pasta and the sauce is nice and thick and every grain of pasta has a coating of sauce, remove from the heat.
Add back in the bacon bits and the basil. Serve with breadsticks, a salad and sprinkle on parmesan cheese!