Pasta a la Vodka

This is a classic that you break out when you want something hot & creamy & gooey & carb-y. It’s delicious, satisfying, and will stand up to basically as much cheese as you want to throw at it. Add the cream a little at a time, and use plenty of salt. The sauce (minus the cream) also freezes well, so you can make this in a snap.
Original recipe from Rachael Ray.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
Coarse salt and pepper
1 box penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
ricotta
parmesan or mozzarella
Crusty bread, for passing

1. Brown sausage in large skillet. Remove sausage from pan.
2. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallot to pan. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness.
3. Add vodka to the pan and reduce by half (2 or 3 minutes).
4. Add chicken stock & tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
5. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente. While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
6. Stir sausage & cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta.
7. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Top pasta with ricotta, parmesan, & mozzarella as desired. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

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