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"The reason I have my show is because I went on 'Oprah' and made vodka cream pasta. Today, I'm making a version of that without the tomato. My mom and sister are so excited about this, they've been asking for five days... is it the vodka cream day yet? It is the vodka cream day yet? It's simple, it's easy, it's delicious. Serve with a salad of romaine and radicchio, blood orange sections or other citrus sections, thinly sliced red onion and pomegranate seeds." –Rach
Don't miss actress and OG Rachael Ray fan, Ryan Michelle Bathe of CBS' "All Rise," in the cook-along video—she joined Rach as her partner-in-cooking for this special recipe.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- ¼ pound meaty pancetta, finely chopped (optional–omit for vegetarian preparation)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small fennel , trimmed, cored and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 round tablespoon flour
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon red pepper (spicier) or white pepper (milder)
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pound tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti or chitarra
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- A handful of basil leaves, torn
Heat a pot of water to boil for pasta.
Heat EVOO in a heavy pot over medium heat, add pancetta and render if using, melt butter into pan, then add fennel and onion and a little salt, soften to very tender, add garlic and stir a minute, add flour, stir, add zest of 1 lemon and vodka, reduce by half. Add half-and-half or cream, pepper of choice, nutmeg and reduce heat to low, simmer to thicken a bit.
Cook pasta in salted water 1 minute less than package directions. Add lemon juice to sauce. Reserve ½ cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce and cheese and use the water as needed to keep sauce loose but creamy, then wilt in basil.