Monday, January 26, 2009

Pasta a la Vodka

I read a recipe a long time ago on Smitten Kitchen for vodka cream sauce. I'm such a sucker for a good vodka cream sauce. I will order it anytime.
However, this recipe was purportedly magical. It was originally from Rachel Ray (EVOO? Come on), but still sounded intriguing. Although, I take issue with the title. It is called "You won't be single for long" vodka cream sauce.
That was absolutely not my objective in making it. Just to set the record straight.
So, the recipe (via Smitten Kitchen):

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

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.


I was lucky enough to have some actual Italian pasta on hand that my boyfriend brought back from Rome, which was a stop on his flight back from France in early January. It was the best pasta I've ever had, but as I told him, I'm sure it's nothing compared to the pasta in some rural Italian village where the Italian mamas make it in their own kitchens. He said that was true. What a showoff.

I didn't use the fresh basil, because I'm cheap. And is heavy cream the same thing as heavy whipping cream? I don't know, but I used the heavy whipping cream and it tasted just fine.

I would have liked it a little more on the spicy side, but this is me we're talking about, and I would like everything a little more on the spicy side. If there were tabasco-flavored ice cream, I'm sure I'd go for it. My boyfriend added salt. He was right.

It's not magical. But it's good.

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