Italian Penne with Veg Pepperoni in a Vodka Cream Sauce

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My favorite pasta sauce without a doubt has always been vodka cream sauce.  It’s got that perfect balance between tart and creamy.  So it became an imperative mission of mine to figure out how to make it.  Luckily it didn’t take too many tries (30, 40, who’s keeping count?).  This is our recipe, which is slightly modified from Rachel Ray’s recipe.  We felt it needed a meaty component to it, and found that Seitan-O-Greatness completed the dish perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz penne
  • 2 T salt
  • ½ Seitan-O-Greatness log, cut in 1 inch strips
  • 1 (28-oz) can whole plum tomatoes
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ t red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 c vodka
  • 1 Knorr vegetarian bullion cube
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for topping

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook as the label directs. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomatoes and bullion. Return the skillet to medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and basil.

Add the pasta and the sliced seitan to the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Salt to taste. Serve topped with more parmesan and basil.

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