Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This Might Be A First

Yesterday afternoon, Christopher came down with a little stomach bug and somehow passed it on to me overnight. While I don't feel completely horrible, I feel bad enough to not go out for a run. What is rather unusual is that, for the first time EVER in my long coffee-drinking life, the smell of coffee is making me very nauseous and unsettled. After taking a few sips this morning, I just couldn't take feeling that feeling anymore and dumped it down the sink in favor of a glass of ginger ale. Very weird! I hope I at least drank enough to keep the caffeine headaches at bay. 

The kids' and Kevin's three day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend has been extended by another day as both Fairfax County Schools and the Federal Government are closed today in anticipation of the winter storm that is heading our way. 
We watched the predicted snow fall amounts begin at 2-4" yesterday morning and climb to 3-5" to 4-6" and finally up to 6-8" before bedtime last night. This morning, the predictions are for accumulations of up to 10". It should be interesting! Kevin has the snow-blower all ready to fire up and go so I hope we get enough to at least use it.

If I feel well enough (and probably even if I don't because the rest of the family has to eat), this is going to be our dinner this evening. Yes, it is a few days later than I originally planned to make it but life got in the way.

"You Won't Be Single for Long" Vodka Cream Pasta
Courtesy of Rachael Ray
Oprah.com   |   January 01, 2006
Vodka Cream Pasta
 It's Rachael Ray's most romantic dish!
Servings: Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil , once around the pan in a slow stream 
1 tablespoon butter 
2 cloves garlic , minced 
2 shallots , minced 
1 cup vodka 
1 cup chicken stock 
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces) 
Coarse salt and pepper 
16 ounces 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 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, 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 until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

I first found this recipe in one of my "Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals" cookbooks a few years ago and have made it many times since. According to Rachel Ray, if you are single and make this dish for your loved one, it is so amazingly delicious that your loved one will be inspired to immediately propose marriage. Obviously, that doesn't apply to me right now (nor is it how I managed to snag such a fabulous husband) but we still love the dish! 

I follow the recipe as written but, at the same time as the cream is stirred into the sauce, I also add a few handfuls of raw shrimp (peeled, de-veined and tails off) and continue to cook until they are done. I find the addition of shrimp makes the dish a little more substantial. I would imagine chunks of pre-cooked chicken could be added as well. I am going to make french baguettes (using the bread machine for the dough) and will also serve a green salad on the side. We might be snowed in but at least we will have good food to eat!

Have a great Tuesday! 

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