yield 3 quarts
1 pound ground beef (mushrooms are a great vegetarian substitution)
1/2 white onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 - 28 oz cans of tomato sauce
3 fl oz vodka
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 box medium shells
2 tablespoon oil
salt as needed
Pre-heat sauce pot, add oil and ground beef and brown until all liquid has evaporated and cooked off. Add onion and garlic and cook down, about 3 minutes. Add vodka and scrape off anything stuck to the bottom - that is flavor! Add in tomato sauce and heavy whipping cream, stir and bring to a simmer - just starting to bubble. Turn heat to low and let gently cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, taste and season with salt, remember to give salt enough time to dissolve (30 seconds or so). Taste again ensuring its properly seasoned. Finish vodka sauce with lemon juice and zest.
While vodka sauce is cooking down, cook pasta according to directions on the box. Add strained pasta to a large bowl with a few dabs of butter and toss coating each shell.
Scoop 2 cups of vodka sauce into the cooked pasta bowl along with cherry tomatoes and rest of butter. Gently stir or toss everything together until butter is melted throughout.
Serve hot with shredded parmesan cheese.
*remaining vodka sauce can be stored in an airtight container below 41 degrees up to 7 days or frozen up to 3 months.