Vodka Cream Pasta


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (or 32 oz.) crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
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 sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes then bring the 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 al dente. Return to the sauce and stir in heavy cream. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Toss the hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.