Monday, July 27, 2009

Vodka Pasta

Well, two non-pasta posts is progress right? Right?

One of my best friends, Jade, calls this dish my "staple." Pasta with a creamy sauce AND booze in one dish. Come on. How can you go wrong? I make it so often now, I don't even need a recipe. Which, by the way, I think everyone who cooks needs a go-to recipe. One that they don't even need to look up before they go to the store. One that does not need constant reference while cooking. It makes me happy to have those kinds of recipes.

Doesn't take much to excite me, can you tell?

Traditionally Pasta with Vodka Sauce, or Vodka Pasta as we call it, uses Penne pasta. I did not have any but I had the fun shape pictured above. Use whatever you have at home. And again, I use a shallot, but if you can't find it or just have a regular onion, use that.

Vodka Pasta
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 shallot, chopped finely
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup vodka
1 can tomato puree
1 cup half and half, or heavy cream
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add in chopped shallot and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for two minutes. Pour in vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. Add in tomato puree and stir. Reduce heat to low and stir in half and half or cream. Allow to simmer, being careful not to overheat. Stir in red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick.
Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Splash in a little water if it needs it. Pour mixture into large serving bowl.

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