From this recipe, annotated as follows.
Step 1: Don't boil water yet; your big burner heats to boiling in just five minutes and you haven't even cooked the sauce. Cut a huge shallot instead of an onion. "Oil" is "garlic-infused", which you don't have any of, and which is a horrible cheat, so use olive oil. The cast iron skillet is on the water-boiling burner, so expect carmelization to occur in five minutes, not ten.
Step 1a: Wonder why shallots make you cry, why the sting is so much sharper than an onion's and why it takes so much longer to hit than the onion sting does. Crush three cloves of garlic with the flat side of your knife and let it rest in the mortar, because you'll be making your own garlic-infused oil OTF.
Step 2: Use one big can of Prego garlic and herb red sauce and one big can of diced tomatoes. "Fresh" grocery store tomatoes are almost never naturally ripened so you quit buying all but the cherry kinds years ago. Resolve the math problem the cans create by leaving a few ounces of sauce behind. Find the special lid that seals cans and refrigerate. You used all the light - not heavy - cream, in an earlier dish, so use half and half. Look up recipes for mock heavy cream in an absolute panic. Decide they're ridiculous because this recipe already calls for butter, and how much more does it need?
Step 2a: Decide the sauce needs more cream; get the half and half back out and double it. Wonder if you're only doing so because heavy cream is thicker so not so much is needed, or if the recipe is just somehow wrong.
Step 2b: Wonder if you're favorite pasta/pizza place on Long Island, the one owned by a young Sicilian Italian who did most of the cooking, ever made this dish right, even if it was one of your favorites. The sauce was much thicker, had no allium, was just barely pink - almost white - and had just a tiny pop of tomatoes. The thing you just created is, even with the doubled half and half, a deeply sunburned color, loaded with allium and tomato dice, and needs red pepper flakes, come to think of it.
Step 2c: Add a few energetic shakes of red pepper flakes.
Step 2c: Mash garlic in mortar with pestle and scrape with a small, soft spatula into a smaller cast iron skillet, along with a spoonful of olive oil. Go low and slow so garlic gets sticky but doesn't turn brown or burn. Mix into sauce, which only has half the olive oil it needed to saute the onions, because adding more with the garlic later on was the plan.
Step 3: The water's on the slow burner, where you left it after putting the big cast iron on the water-boiler, so leave it there and add pasta, as the water has already hit boiling twice. You don't have penne, so use rigatoni. They didn't tell you to salt the hell out of the water but you do so, anyway. You let the steam soften your face as you dump the boiling water in the colander because your mom always did that but you thought it was nuts - until you didn't.
Step 3a: You're not happy with today's news (Rex Tillerson plays the bumbling lead in Yo, War's Peace, You Feelin' Me Bro in a newsfeed near you, the most common Google search term is [nuclear war], The Religious Freedom Act's getting signed over Ivanka and Jared's obviously not-too-strenuous objections, even as the mangled health care bill that might kill legions of Americans is being rushed out to a vote) so you add roughly double the amount of vodka the recipe calls for and don't even try to pretend it was an accident or like you feel bad about it.
Step 3b: You realize you cooked only half the pasta the recipe calls for but still doubled the vodka and shrug it off, indifferently. Then you watch as the butter melts: such a creamy, swirly, sticky mess up against all those big, fat noodles, then you mix some freshly picked and chopped ribboned basil right into the pasta. Your vodka smells like nail polish remover as it hits the pot, so you make a mental note to try to buy better quality someday, because quadruple-distilled apparently isn't distilled enough.
Step 4: You skip Step 4, put the pasta on a plate and cover it with sauce. You almost die over how good it tastes, then clean up the kitchen, put away the leftovers and write about what it is you made.