Gnocchette Pasta with Mushrooms, Broccoli Rabe and Vodka Cream Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
This pasta recipe is a variation on a traditional Italian pasta with vodka sauce. It is somewhat indulgent, but so good. Gnocchette is a short dried pasta shaped like gnocchi. It is not easy to find, at least where I live, so use any short pasta you prefer. This recipe makes a quick and easy family dinner, but is special enough for a celebration or casual entertaining.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 pound cremini or other mushrooms, sliced
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe (rapini), about 1 pound before cleaning and trimming
- 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 cup vodka
- 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1 pound gnocchette or other short pasta
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper half way through cooking. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat. Add the garlic, broccoli rabe, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until broccoli rabe is slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Remove lid and add the red pepper strips. Sauté about 5 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and cook until heated, about 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cream, basil, additional salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the cream comes to a boil.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water. Stir the pasta into the sauce, adding reserved pasta water if needed to bring it all together. Serve immediately, passing the grated cheese separately.