I mentioned in my last post that we’ve been menu planning around here. We have sandwich (or soup and/or salad) night, Mexican night, seafood night and the weekend (either Friday or Saturday) is for Italian. Sunday nights are for something more involved like a roast or a fancy new recipe I’m trying. We’ve been doing this for a couple weeks now and it’s been pretty successful.
I usually go over the week’s menu with Derek before we head out to the grocery stores (we go to three or four different places!) and get his input on the meals. Occasionally, he’ll make a suggestion. Penne alla vodka was a recent request. I have made a version of this recipe before, but was looking an easy, straight forward version this time around. Enter Rachael Ray. I know she’s kind of a love or hate personality, but I do enjoy her recipes, and this one was no exception. Except for what she calls it… click on the link below to find out what horrid name she has given this penne alla vodka.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces penne rigate pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, julienned
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
Garlic bread, for serving
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes, if using. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan and reduce by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente. Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves and top with parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic (or other crusty) bread.