Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomatoes and salt to taste. Return the skillet to medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and basil.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Season with salt. Serve topped with more parmesan and basil.
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine