Rachael Ray's Vodka Sauce Isn't Complete Without 2 Key Additions

When you're craving a rich and creamy pasta dish, you can't go wrong with vodka sauce. Thanks to its dairy base, zesty tomato flavoring, and signature splash of alcohol, the pink-hued sauce makes for a delicious addition to almost any kind of pasta. But leave it to chef and talk show host Rachael Ray to put a truly unique stamp on the recipe by incorporating two genius additions: fresh basil and ...chicken stock?! The latter ingredient may be unexpected, but Ray is so confident in her savory secret that she actually calls her recipe "You Won't Be Single for Long" vodka cream sauce. As in, if you make this dish for a romantic suitor, they're bound to fall in love. It's quite a bold claim, but after trying it for yourself, you might just be convinced of its power. 

Ray's additions work well in vodka sauce for a number of reasons. For one, the chicken stock adds a dynamic and surprising kick of savory flavor, while also working to thicken the concoction to achieve that ideal velvety consistency. Meanwhile, the sprinkling of fresh basil brightens up the taste of the dish, providing one's palate with a robust and earthy herbaceousness that suits the sauce and pairs well with the tomato base.

How to make Rachael Ray's vodka sauce

While most vodka sauce recipes feature the same core ingredients, you'll find that many chefs have their own version of the dish. Mario Carbone, the chef and restaurateur behind his namesake Italian eatery in New York City, for example, adds a dash of chili peppers to his famous vodka sauce for a spicy kick. Ina Garten, on the other hand, adds sautéed yellow onion and prefers to bake the sauce to bring out the flavors.

But Ray's intoxicating pasta dressing is certainly worth whipping up, either for your dinner date or for yourself. According to the celebrity chef's recipe, which she shared with the Food Network, you'll want to start by sautéing oil, butter, garlic, and shallots in a pan before adding a cup of vodka. When it reduces after a few minutes, you can add crushed tomatoes and your secret ingredient, chicken stock, to the mix. After it sufficiently simmers, mix in the heavy cream.

Finally, once you toss the sauce with your choice of perfectly al dente pasta, the last step comes with the addition of fresh basil leaves. Then, simply present the pasta on your plate, top it with grated parmesan, and prepare to steal some hearts.