Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Sausage

I'm not a big drinker, but I've learned to love to cook and bake with alcohol. I've added chocolate raspberry rum (from the Caribbean) to all kinds of bake goods. I made rum balls for the first time last Christmas. And I'm in love with vodka sauce. It's got such a kick and unique taste. If you like spicy, you'll like this recipe.
Shell pasta with vodka sauce, garnished with Parmesan cheese
4 servings of pasta, usually about 2 cups depending on the type of pasta. (I prefer penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 spicy sausages (Eric loves the Hillshire Farms Jalapeno and Cheese Sausages) chopped into bite-size pieces
1 medium shallot, minced
2 pinches of red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14.9 ounce) of diced tomatoes
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
5 basil leaves, torn
Parmesan cheese, garnish

Cook pasta according to the package directions, drain, rinse and set aside.

In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until shallots and garlic turn a golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour in vodka and cook until the sauces reduces by half. In a glass, mix the milk and cornstarch together* then stir it into the sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add basil and pasta. Toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

*You can replace the milk and cornstarch mixture with heavy cream. I rarely have heavy cream on hand and found that whole milk and cornstarch work just as well as heavy cream.



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