I’ve been bad about cooking lately. I have lots of new recipes to try but just haven’t had much energy to cook. I've been making easy meals that involve little to no preparation. This pasta is one of those dishes. I planted some basil in the spring and finally it’s leaves are big enough to use. Since this dish uses a lot of fresh basil I decided to make it. I halved the recipe because neither of us have had much of an appetite and I didn’t really want a lot of leftovers. I thought it would be heavy because of the cream sauce, but it tasted surprisingly light. Perhaps it was because I used half-n-half instead of heavy cream. I still had leftovers, and it was just as good cold as it was when I made it for dinner. Next time I might try adding red pepper flakes to give the sauce a bit of a kick.
Vodka Cream Pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil,
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
½ c vodka (I used Ketel One)
½ c vegetable stock (chicken stock would be fine also)
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed or pureed tomatoes
~2 Tbsp tomato paste
~¼ c sundried tomatoes (either the ones in oil, or dried ones, rehydrated in water according to pkg directions)
Coarse salt and pepper
8 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
¼ c heavy cream (or half and half)
~10 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and shallot. Gently sauté shallot for 3 to 5 minutes to develop it's sweetness. Add vodka to the pan. Simmer to reduce vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Serve.
Source: adapted from Rachel Ray