This recipe will make enough for two couples. If you plan a romantic evening where more than two’s a crowd, reserve half the sauce to freeze for another supper before the addition of basil, and only cook 1/2 to 2/3 pound of penne.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.
From Rachael Ray’s Food Network Show, 30-Minute Meals
We printed this recipe from the Food Network website, but it may be in one of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks as well. I had been watching her show and she made this awesome pasta sampler! I really wanted to try one of the pasta sauces, so I commenced a search for the recipe. I had a bit of trouble finding it, as I had not seen the whole show and didn’t know what Rachael was calling it. In the process of looking, I stumbled upon this vodka cream pasta. Now talk about things I’ve always wanted to make. Vodka cream pasta sauce is right up there at the top of the list! So, the various pasta sauces were printed off and added to my big binder full of recipe print-outs and magazine clippings. The binder is one of our “cookbooks,” and unfortunately we often print things out and never make them. Hence our recipe project – and the binder gets a turn too!
So this was a really great recipe! In our opinion, it makes six servings, not four. We thought it was rich and delicious and while we each greatly enjoyed our serving, we thought more would have been too much. When we read the part about passing the pasta with crusty bread, we looked at each other and said “Justin Wilson’s garlic bread!” almost simultaneously. (Sometimes we’re a little scary like that…) Now, while Justin uses two sticks of butter, we toned it down a bit and used only one stick. We also opened the bread for about five minutes so it got a little crusty on top.
The only thing missing was a nice salad, but due to poor planning on my part we had no lettuce or spinach. Plan better and have a wonderful dinner!
Note: If you are not eating all of this fresh, don’t pour all the sauce on the noodles. It still tastes great the next day, but the noodles absorb some of the liquid from the sauce. It is no longer a sauce but just sits on the noodles in patches instead of coating them.