Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cooking Light: Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce

Have you seen that recipe going around for Rachel Ray's pasta with vodka sauce that is supposedly so good that it will magically make Prince Charming show up at your door and propose marriage?  Yeah, I saw it, too.  It doesn't work.  And the sauce isn't very good either.  Disappointment on two fronts.  I've been a little wary of vodka sauce ever since.

Since I'm not a big tomato sauce fan, I enjoy every opportunity to dump something else into it to make it more interesting.  Meat, herbs, cream, liquor...  So of course I had to try vodka sauce again.  This time I found a recipe for a lighter version, which I normally abhor, but this tasted pretty darn good, if a bit spicy.  Darn good enough that I will probably make it again.  I don't think it will make Prince Charming appear, but hey, that's asking a lot of a pasta sauce.

Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, September 2007

½ pound uncooked pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon salt, divided
⅛-¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¾ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup vodka
¼ cup chicken broth
1 (14½-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
¼ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender.  Add ¼ teaspoon salt, red pepper, oregano, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Add vodka; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half.  Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes.  Place tomato mixture in a blender.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).  Process until smooth.  Return tomato mixture to pan; stir in cream.  Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cooked pasta, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and basil.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

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