Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta in it. Save half a cup of pasta water.
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add 1 diced shallot and sauté until aromatic (2-3 minutes). Then, add 3-4 cloves of minced garlic and sauté until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
Add ¼ cup of tomato paste to the skillet and stir to combine. Then, add 3 tablespoons of vodka and allow this to simmer for at least 7 to 10 minutes to cook the alcohol off (the vodka is totally optional, so if you're not using it, skip straight to the next step).
Add 2 teaspoons of red chili flakes into the sauce followed by a cup of heavy cream or coconut cream. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and adjust to taste!
Add your drained pasta into the skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of pasta water (as needed to create a thick sauce). Top with vegetarian or vegan parmesan and fresh, chopped up basil (optional). Serve hot!
Do you need vodka in vodka sauce? Technically, no! The vodka helps bind the sauce together but it's totally optional.