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Pasta alla Vodka Plus

I like a nice hot bowl of pasta with a rich creamy pink sauce once in a while, and alla vodka sauce is one of my favorite variations of the pink sauce.  With the addition of the meat from a half a leftover roasted chicken and a pint of mushrooms we had a lovely dinner that was just a bit more than standard alla vodka pasta.  The nice thing about this sauce is the all that the rich cream gives a rich soft feel in the mouth and the vodka adds a little tang that you just can’t get with wine. If you don’t have chicken or mushrooms feel free to remove them from the recipe or replace them with a little diced bacon or prosciutto sauteed in with the onions, yummy. Since we are enjoying all this butter and cream to make myself feel better I normally opt for a whole wheat or high protein pasta and serve the meal with a nice big green salad.

1 lbs pasta of your choice

1 small onion, diced

1 pint mushrooms, sliced

½ cup butter

½ cup vodka

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

+/- ½ tsp crushed red pepper

3 cloves of crushed or microplaned garlic

1 tbsp Italian spice blend or mix of your favorite Italian herbs (oregano, basil, etc)

2-3 tbsp tomato paste (the good kind in the tube)

1 cup any brand store bough jar tomato sauce

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup grated Parmesan

1-2 cups of diced roasted chicken

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and salt; bring to a boil and cook your pasta al dente.

In a second pot that is large enough to ultimately accommodate all the pasta make your sauce. Start by melting a tablespoon of the butter and adding the onions. Sauté the onions until soft.  Then add the mushrooms and rest of the butter. Let them cook until the mushrooms are tender and the butter is foaming.

Next add in the vodka, Worcestershire, red pepper, garlic, spices and tomato paste. Give a good stir letting the tomato paste dissolve and the vodka cook down. Turn the heat down so the cheese and cream will not stick or burn. Then add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, and cheese. Stir and add in the chicken.  Leave the sauce on the heat until the chicken is heated through.

Drain the cooked pasta and pour it into the pot with the sauce. Give everything a good mix.

Adding the pasta to the sauce still over the heat will let the pasta stay warm, the sauce thicken and will help everything come together better. You could mix it in the serving bowl, but I have better results with this method.

Then plate and serve with a sprinkle of fresh basil and Parmesan.