Makes 4 servings
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt and pepper
16 oz pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté the shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add the vodka to the pan – three turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce the vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and the basil leaves. Pass the pasta with crusty bread.