11 January, 2011

Vodka Cream Sauce

I first saw this recipe years ago on Emeril's Food Network show.  I was intrigued by the vodka, mesmerized by the color, and convinced by the cream.  After all heavy cream in anything is bound to be delicious right?  If you're scared off by the vodka, the alcohol is all cooked out of it and you're just left with this really great flavor that is hard to identify (if you didn't make it or aren't familiar with what you're eating.)
You could add some kind of meat or chicken if you like.  I like it just like it is with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.
Vodka Cream Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c onion, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne or rigatoni (I mixed it up with what I had)
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and onions. Gently saute onions for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add vodka to the pan.  Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
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 with crusty bread and a salad.

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