Penne Alla Vodka with Shrimp

Penne Alla Vodka with Shrimp

-adapted from Rachel Ray (sauce) and Barefoot Contessa (roasted shrimp)

Vodka sauce is super yummy. It is basically a tomato cream sauce with a kick (literally). While it doesn't taste like vodka (and you can certainly feed it to your children, as you reduce the vodka down), it has a tangy-ness to it. It's fantastic as-is or with shrimp. I'm sure you could throw some chicken in there, too, if that is your preference.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces) 
Coarse salt and pepper
1 lb tube shaped pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc) 
1/2 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. Add vodka to the pan, and reduce vodka by half--this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. 
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water--drain, and set aside.  
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Stir in roasted shrimp (if using).

For the shrimp--I defrosted 1 lb of uncooked shrimp, tossed with some olive oil/salt and pepper and roasted on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until pink (10ish minutes). You could also just saute it in the pan before you start the sauce, then remove and set aside while you prepare the sauce. Chicken would also work, sauteed in the pan before the sauce, or cooked and shredded beforehand and stirred into the sauce at the end.