Yuhuh. I don’t know about that. I mean, it’s not bad or anything but I highly doubt this pasta dish will get me hitched.
I made this over the weekend because I thought this recipe by Rachael Ray would make a cute main for the Valentine’s love extravaganza I got going on on Rappler. I wanted to fancy it up a tiny bit, it being for Valentine’s Day and all, so I did without the olive oil and butter and used bacon instead. Perhaps it had to do with my overinflated expectations but I was seriously underwhelmed by this dish. There was, however, a silver lining to making it. Pearls of wisdom I shall share with you in a bit. For now, here’s what I used for You Won’t Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta:
6 strips bacon
3 small shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups dried penne, cooked to al dente
*Makes 4 very generous servings. Double date?
1. Slice up the bacon and cook in a medium pan on medium heat. When the bacon is crisped to your liking and the fat is rendered, add in minced shallots. When the shallots have slightly browned, add in minced garlic.
2. When the garlic turns fragrant, add in the vodka and let it bubble until it reduces to half. This will not take long, about 2 minutes.
3. Add in chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. It looked like a lot of sauce at this point (the crushed tomato was swimming, a sight I find oddly sad) so I simmered with the lid off until it reduced to my liking. Then I took the pan off the stove, swirled in the cream and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I also ripped up the basil leaves and stirred them in.
And that’s it! All that’s left to do now is tossing the cooked pasta with this sauce. I garnished with a pretty basil sprig.
Not bad, most definitely not make-him-propose great. It’s almost admirable how it’s so right-on-the-money HO-HUM. What’s the fuss about?? If it weren’t for today’s Fun Food Fact, I’d be pissed.
Fun Food Fact: So I looked up why alcohol is used in cooking and it turns out alcohol is a great solvent and it’s able to extract flavor from herbs and spices that water alone couldn’t. It also helps stabilize a mixture with both water and fat – like our sauce – because it binds with both. That means it will help prevent our sauce from breaking. And lastly, alcohol imparts flavor into your dish. If you want the properties of alcohol but not additional flavor, vodka is a good choice because it has no distinct flavor of its own.
Charging this dish to experience!