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  • Writer's pictureJason Wills

Our version of Rachael Ray's famous "You won't be single for long vodka cream penne pasta"

Serves: 6 (with sides)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

This is one of our family favourite go-to comfort meals that my wife has been cooking since her uni days! It's had a few upgrades over the years of course but it's always a winner! We like to serve some steamed broccoli or green beans on the side for a bit of balance!

1 tablespoon olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream

1 tablespoon butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots (or half an onion), finely chopped

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Pinch of chilli flakes, optional

1 cup vodka

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 jar of Passata (crushed tomatoes), 700g

70g Tomato paste

Coarse salt and cracked pepper to taste

500g pasta, such as penne rigate or spaghetti

1/2 cup cream

To Finish:

Fresh basil, shredded or torn

Grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh ricotta, optional but highly recommended

*Drizzle of good quality olive oil or truffle oil if you want to be fancy!

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the EVOO, butter, garlic and shallots/onion. Gently sauté the shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness, add oregano and chilli flakes if using, and the tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Then add the vodka to the pan and reduce by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a bubble and reduce the heat to a simmer (careful, it will splatter!). Season with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it's cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your steamed veggies, salad or other side dishes.

Stir the cream into the sauce and remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and some of the basil leaves. Dish up in warmed bowls, top with an ice cream style scoop of fresh ricotta, basil and drizzle with olive oil and a bit of extra fresh cracked pepper. Buon appetito!

Recipe is adapted from Rachel Ray's original here.

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