Monday, August 5, 2013

Rachael Ray's Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce

August 1st was Joe and my 3 year dating anniversary. Joe said I no longer get to count our dating anniversary because we now have our wedding anniversary. Pah-leas.

For our 3 year anniversary I decided to make a dish that I had tried to make for Joe when we just started dating: Rachael Ray's Penne Vodka. Ok, it's actually called Rachael Ray's"You Won't Be Single For Long" Penne Vodka. Don't judge me.  I though it would be fun to cook for Joe when he came up to Minneapolis to visit me, and then have the wine that I had been saving from my Italy trip a few months earlier. This was before I had ever really learned how to cook, but Rachael said it was easy so I trusted her. I decided to do a practice round before Joe came up, however, just to make sure I got it right.

Disaster. For one, I had no idea what a shallot was, so that was an adventure in itself trying to find it at the store. When I finally found the shallots (did not look anything like I thought they would, which is probably why it took me so long to find) and gathered all the necessary ingredients, I trudged home to my small Minneapolis apartment to practice my labor of love. Two minutes in and I already burnt the garlic and shallots, and the fire alarm started blaring. In truth, the fire alarm in my old apartment was incredibly sensitive and went off all the time, but my cooking ego at the time was also sensitive, and I gave up right there. 

When Joe came up to visit, after I had already told him before my cooking blunder that I was going to make him dinner, he saw my body language when I was about to start cooking and said "should we just go out to dinner?" It was a resounding "yes!" and we made our way over to Stella's in Uptown. We still had the Italian wine when we got back to the apartment, however, so not all was lost. 

3 years later, and after I've finally learned how to cook, I've decided that it is time to try it again. And while I didn't have any Italian wine, I did have cheap champagne. 

Rachael Ray's Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce
From Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
2 cloves minced garlic
2 minced shallots
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 basil leaves, shredded
salt and pepper

Add the olive oil, butter, garlic, and shallots to a large skillet over medium heat. Saute for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the vodka. Reduce by half, which will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and the tomatoes, and bring sauce to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, allowing to simmer.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Once the pasta is done, stir the cream into the sauce. Once it returns to a bubble, remove from heat.

Toss with the pasta, and add the basil.


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