Spicy Vodka Cream Pasta

Good Morning!  Long time no post!

I will spare you the whole, “I can’t believe it has been MONTHS since I posted last”…because well, you’ve heard that before.  :)  I am more and more amazed every day at how quickly time flies.  Between a toddler…a couple pregnancies…working full-time and managing several hobbies, time really gets away from me.  :)

The trouble is, I have so many recipes and photos piling up that I am dying to share with you.  And…selfishly, get posted to “my” online cookbook.  See, so often, as I’m wandering the aisles of HyVee, I have Indulge pulled on my phone as my “go-to” recipes and grocery lists.  I’d be lost without this blog!  Funny…I still carry a paper calendar/planner…but when it comes to recipes, it is all electronic.  Somtimes I think my cookbooks are just sitting on the shelf to look pretty! 

Anyway, before I dig too far into this post, I want to send a shout out to my husband.  If it weren’t for his golf additiction, I wouldn’t feel so good about sneaking out of the house on a Sunday morning for some alone time…just me and my computer…and an Iced Latte…and sure, a Lemon Poppyseed Muffin.  (Ahh….JAVA HOUSE I LOVE YOU!).  It occurred to me yesterday as Ryan was out golfing for 6 hours (which I fully support, btw), why don’t I ever take a few hours to get away by myself??  So, today I did…and I am whipping together several posts…recipes…and photos!  I am indulging in this quiet time and so very thrilled to be blogging again. :)

Speaking of months…it was almost 3 months ago that we traveled to Northern MN to celebrate Ryan’s Grandma Maki.  It was Mother’s Day weekend…and seemed appropriate that we were joining in a Memorial for Gram.  I loved that little lady…so very witty…and sassy…just how I like ‘em!  I suppose, it was also quite appropriate that after losing Beau in January, we were also newly pregnant with the baby are now expecting on Christmas.  So, as a first trimester reprieve, we extended our stay on the North Shore for a few days at Grand Superior Lodge.  Those of you who have been following the blog since it’s start know that GSL is one of my very favorite places on Earth.  Rustic.  Tranquil.  And the ultimate in relaxation.

We were thrilled to be joined by our friends the Loftsgaardens.  Spending the days individually with our families and joining up in the evening to share homemade dinners (and letting the kids run wild together).  As I pondered what to make, I decided to go for a new recipe.  Despite Ryan’s argument, “When cooking for guests, we should make something we KNOW is good”, I rebelled.  :)  I was craving something new!  Maybe it was the simplicity or maybe it was the title “You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta” that tempted me, but it was Rachael’s Rays Vodka Cream Pasta that made the cut.  What resulted, after a few tweaks of my own, was rave reviews!  So, the next time you are looking for an easy…but guaranteed delicious pasta dish, you will have to give this one a try.  It would be hard to go wrong!

Spicy Vodka Cream Pasta

Original Recipe by Rachael Ray – adapted to our taste!

Serves 4

“This recipe will make enough for two couples. If you plan a romantic evening where more than two’s a crowd, reserve half the sauce to freeze for another supper before the addition of basil, and only cook 1/2 to 2/3 pound of penne.”

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil,, once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter,
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and EVOO
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crushed Red Pepper to taste
  • Shaved Parmesan or Romano for garnish
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing

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, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, crushed red pepper. 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, shaved parmesan, and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread and serve with your favorite red wine! 

 IMG_0571-1

If you are looking for a new red wine, we recommend BRAZIN Old Vine Lodi 2010.  We picked up several bottles while in Two Harbors, MN on a super deal…I can’t wait until January for another glass :)

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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