Penne à la Vodka

I was surprised by this dish.  I had never had penne à la vodka, but I expected… well, honestly, I expected a bit more.  The vodka flavor was subtle, which I was pleased with.  But there isn’t much for herbs in many penne à la vokda recipes that I looked at.  Some basil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and… that’s it.

Not that it wasn’t good, because it was. It was very good.

Just… simple.  And I liked it.  I could use more simple.

Penne à la Vodka
Adapted from Rachel Ray, via Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c. vodka
1 c. chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
16 ounces penne pasta
1/2 c. heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil or ~1 t. dried basil

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots; saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vodka to the pan and reduce vodka by half, stirring (this will take 2 or 3 minutes).  Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce bubbling and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper and add red pepper flakes

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente. Stir your simmering pasta sauce occasionally.

Once the pasta is nearly ready, stir the cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil.  Serve with freshly grate parmesan (optional).

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Main dishes, Pasta, Vegetarian

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