vodka, please

It's no secret to everyone by now that I have a love affair with wine, champagne, and whiskey.  That may sound bad, but it's not in a "I like to get drunk" kinda way; it's actually that I genuinely enjoy the taste of them.  Vodka, on the other hand, is something I have more of a love/hate kind of relationship with. I'm not particularly into the taste, and even if it's an excellent vodka I still prefer only a small amount in my cocktails (one exception here).

However, vodka sauce is an entirely different story. I was first introduced to this unique spin on the classic tomato sauce in college.  My best friend brought home a pre-made bottle, and we were hooked.  Last week Jasmine and I decided to give the homemade stuff a whirl.

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta (spotted here)
What You'll Need:
- 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)
- Course salt and pepper
- 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
- Bread, for passing

What You'll Do:
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3-5 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 about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente. While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes (in our case, Jasmine and I just ate the bread...and drank wine, obviously).

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.
Tip: it takes the sauce a bit to thicken, so allow it to sit for a bit before tossing with the pasta. 

This creamy pasta was a hit for us both, and (bonus) we had a ton of leftovers.  I actually preferred the pasta the next day as the sauce had thickened even more!
Recipe via here.

P.S. I just realized I haven't posted a recipe in over two months...clearly I need to get my act together and start cooking decent meals on a more regular basis. I mean, my dinner tonight was a half a quesadilla and chicken nuggets...what is that? It's like I don't even know myself anymore.


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