Cooking with Vodka

Brilliance.

I decided that after a week of take-out and frozen pizza, my body was actually craving a home-cooked meal.  So, I finally tried Rachael Ray’s “You-Won’t-Be-Single-For-Long-Vodka-Cream-Pasta.”  Her names for things are way too long, so from now on I’ll be calling it “Pink Vodka Pasta” or “Fancy Spaghetti.”  My notes are in italics.

Pink Vodka Pasta

Ingredients:

– 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 Tablespoon butter
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 shallots, minced (couldn’t find any at the store)
– 1 Cup vodka
– 1 Cup chicken stock
– 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1/2 Cup heavy cream
– 12 oz pasta (I used penne)
– 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn (I just threw in some dried basil to save moola)

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  Heat a large skillet over moderate heat.  Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots.  Gently saute garlic and shallots, 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness.

(Watch carefully so as not to scald the garlic.)  Add vodka; reduce by half.  (I turned up the heat high and stirred vigorously to get it to reduce.  I have no what the actual cooking technique of “reducing” is.)

Add chicken stock and tomatoes.  Bring sauce to a bubble, then reduce heat to simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.

You need a big pan to fit all the ingredients.  I learned this the hard way.  If you notice, this pan is different than the one in the first photos.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, a bit firm to the bite.  Stir cream into the vodka sauce.

When sauce returns to a bubble, remove from heat.  Drain pasta.  Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.

It was yummy.  I was afraid it would taste too much like doing a shot, but the sauce had just enough kick and flavor.  This baby’s going in the permanent rotation!

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