As any long-term reader of my blog is aware, I despise Rachael Ray and wish death upon her. However, I decided to use her recipe that she so idiotically entitled "You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta." I've shortened the title to Vodka Cream Pasta for my own sanity.
The recipe is extremely quick and easy, which is excellent. It's very tasty as well. We had it with some whole-wheat spaghetti and whole grain rolls (Pepperidge Farm Artisanal breads are delicious AND healthy!). We agreed it would definitely be a make again. I would also make this in bulk and freeze it for days when we don't have time to cook (which, from the looks of next year's graduate school schedule, will be quite often).
Vodka Cream Pasta
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 (Note: I used dried, as usual)
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.
Yield: 4 servings
Photo added retroactively on February 24, 2008: