Vodka Pasta

So… we’ve had this mostly empty bottle of vodka in the freezer for months. Shocking? I know.
We’re generally wine and beer people – the liquor is usually just for friends or special occasions.
This past weekend I opened the freezer, hoping a carton of ice cream would materialize, and I spotted the vodka. We make pasta at least once a week and try to always keep a little on hand, when  suddenly it came to me. Vodka Sauce. I checked out a few different recipes and we had pretty much everything needed. Just picked up a can of crushed tomatoes and some fresh basil and we were good to go! Some of the recipes called for half a cup of vodka, and some for a whole cup. I figured I  would just wing it anyway. As I poured it into the measuring cup, voila! Exactly one cup. Perfect.

mage via maggie’s meals

Vodka Pasta
A mixture of a handful of recipes, serves at least 4
(you can exchange the chicken stock for a bit of pasta water to make it vegetarian) 

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons shredded fresh basil, plus additional for serving
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat, add olive oil and butter. Saute the onion about 5 to 6 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Pour in the vodka and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes.
While the sauce simmer, cook the pasta to al dente.
Stir the cream and red pepper flakes into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Return the sauce to a bubble, then remove from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce and basil leaves. Garnish with more cheese, as needed.

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