I went back to an old favorite for dinner tonight and made Rachel Ray's Vodka Cream Pasta. I had half of a can of crushed tomatoes left in the refrigerator from Monday night's Chana Masala and I had a little bit of heavy cream left as well and so Vodka Cream Pasta immediately came to mind. I grow basil in my little outdoor herb garden every summer which is what I used to garnish this pasta tonight. The only two ingredients I needed to buy to make dinner was a shallot and a box of penne rigate. I did cut the recipe in half since I only had 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes and I was only feeding two of us. I had everything else on hand and I decided to make some homemade French bread to have with this. We also had a green salad with a vinaigrette as our side dish.
I will be trying my hand at an Italian baguette in the near future and I'll be sure to post about it once I have it mastered. As a quick little side note, I did try making my first batch of homemade English muffins this afternoon and they do need some tweaking before I post that recipe as well.
Adapted from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals
Vodka Cream Pasta - Serves 4
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to a 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. Pass pasta with crusty bread.