BIG Noods alla Gin with Sungold Tomatoes

SERVES: 4-6

Consider this a summer take on the classic Italian American red sauce joint style dish of Rigatoni alla Vodka. This version leans more heavily on fresh sungold tomatoes (this is a peak summer season only dish!!) than it does on tomato paste, and reduces the typical ratio of cream yielding a lighter, brighter end result. I’ve called for fresh lasagne sheets here because they’re fun and floppy and have lots of fun volume on the plate but you could of course use any pasta shape you like fresh or dried!

Active Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 50 mins

sungold

Produce

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 pints sungold or cherry tomatoes
  • Handful basil

Pantry

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ounces double concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped calabrian chilies
  • ¼ cup gin or vodka
  • 12 ounces fresh lasagna sheets

Dairy

  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces parmigiano reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil:

2. Do some prep:

  • Cut 2 pints of Sungold or cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Finely chop 1 large yellow onion and slice 6 garlic cloves.

3. Make the Sungold sauce:

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until very soft and jammy, 5-6 minutes.
  • Add in your garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 3 ounces of double concentrated tomato paste (about ¾ of a tube), and 1 tablespoon calabrian chilies. Cook, stirring occasionally until the tomato paste starts to caramelize in some spots, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in ¼ cup gin, and cook until it evaporates fully, 1 minute.
  • In a small glass measuring cup, stir ¼ cup of the hot pasta water into ¼ cup cream. This will warm the cream so it doesn’t go into shock when it hits the hot pot! It’s called tempering. Stir the cream mixture into the pot, along with about ⅔ of the halved tomatoes (just eyeball it). Cook, stirring occasionally until some of the sungolds have cooked down and started to collapse and the sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Season the sauce with salt–it will need a lot of it I promise.
  • Stir in 1 ½ ounces (about ¾ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

4. Cook, toss, serve :

  • Add 12 ounces fresh lasagna noodles to the boiling water, tearing them in half and separating them as you add them and giving them a good stir once they're in the pot and cook according to package directions.
  • Scoop out and reserve a cup or so of pasta water before draining the noodles.
  • Add the noodles and the remaining fresh tomatoes to the pot of sauce, return to medium heat and cook, stirring very gently so as not to break up the noodles, until well coated and saucy, adding pasta water as needed–the mixture should be loose, as it will firm up as it sits and cools, and we want this to be on the lighter, more summery side of things, not a thick creamy clingy sauce.
  • Divide among serving bowls, top with basil, a drizzle of olive oil and more parm.

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