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Rach wrote this recipe for the event she and Denis Leary support every May 4th celebrating International Firefighters' Day. "This is a meat-free version so everybody can enjoy it, but it's basically chicken riggies!" she exclaims. "It's vodka sauce with peppers and onions. You can serve some sausages on the side, if you like. You can put chicken in it, if you like—that's the original recipe. It's a great recipe that you can adapt for every diet, it's super-fun and riggies just refers to rigatoni." We're sold!
Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
If you're roasting red peppers, blacken them under high heat of broiler or over open flame. Cover peppers, then peel, seed and chop.
Heat EVOO in saucepot or Dutch oven, 3 turns of the pan, add fresh peppers, onions, garlic, roasted peppers, salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and soften 5 minutes, then uncover, add vodka and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, passata, brine and hot peppers and stir in torn basil. Lower heat and stir in the cream.
Boil pasta in salted water 1 minute less than package directions, reserve ½ cup salty water and drain. Combine the pasta, sauce and cheese and top with a few small leaves of basil.