Penne à la Vodka (You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta)

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adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where it was adapted from Rachael Ray
serves 4

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
Just over 1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
½ cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

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, but you should probably do 4 turns around the pan just to be safe . Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season generously with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.

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