Easy Pasta with Vodka Sauce




This is such an easy meal to make.  I took the idea from the “one pan” pasta recipes that have become so popular (with good reason!) and turned it into a quick vodka sauce recipe for your favorite pasta.  Flavorful, filling, inexpensive and quick to prepare and clean-up, this is a regular item on our home menu.  I hope it becomes one of your favorites too!  

The ingredients are common items stored in a typical pantry (chicken stock, canned crushed tomatoes, pasta, olive oil, bay leaves, garlic, and dried herbs).  A dash of vodka from the liquor cabinet and bit of heavy cream and you’re basically good to go.

Vodka sauce is primarily served with Penne, however, I like to use different pasta shapes.  Truth be told, I used Rigatoni for these picture because it is what I had on hand.  Now, why vodka?  From the research I’ve done, vodka’s role here is to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes that can only be brought out by alcohol.  Vodka works well for this purpose, as it has no distinct flavor of its own, like a wine or brandy. 



Recipe

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
2 medium bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 medium cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

32 oz. low or no-sodium chicken stock
1 lb. dry pasta

2-3 T flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (or 1T dried)
1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a 2 quart pot on medium heat, add the olive oil, bay leaves, salt, pepper flakes, tomatoes, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and pasta.  Bring to slow boil.  Stir occasionally to avoid the pasta from sticking.

As the pasta cooks, the sauce will reduce and thicken.

When the pasta has a few minutes before being fully cooked, add the parsley and vodka.

When pasta is cooked, turn off the heat.  Stir in the heavy cream and add some ground or cracked pepper.  Check seasoning and adjust salt, if needed.

Plate and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  

Enjoy!


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