Low-Fat Penne Alla Vodka

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Penne alla vodka in an Italian pasta dish consisting of vodka and penne pasta. Penne alla vodka is often made with heavy cream, onions, crushed tomatoes, and sometimes bits of sausage or bacon. Some people will sprinkle a bit of chilli flakes for some added heat. Penne alla vodka is one of the most commonly ordered pasta dishes at many Italian or dairy restaurants and for a good reason. Aside for the pasta factor (who doesn’t like a good pasta dish?), it is rich and flavorful. It is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  I decided to modify the original recipe and create my low-fat version. Rather than using heavy cream, I used skim milk.  I also used whole wheat penne pasta as well (you can use whole grain if you find any).  Like most pasta dishes I made, I love flavouring this low-fat penne alla vodka with fresh chopped herbs such as parsley and basil. Why spend 30 bucks on a penne alla vodka dish when you can create your own version from the comfort of your own home and for less? Plus home-cooked meals are always more romantic, especially when your spouse makes them 😉


For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 lbs of penne pasta (preferably whole wheat)
  2. 1 whole medium onion, chopped
  3. 2  cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil
  5. 1/2 cup vodka
  6. 1 cup skim milk
  7. 1 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  8. 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  9. 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  10. Salt and pepper for taste
  11. Parmesan cheese


Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until soft. Pour in the vodka, being careful if your stove has an open flame.  Cook and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the tomato puree. Stir the mixture until it’s thoroughly combined, then reduce the heat to low. Pour in the milk. Stir to combine, then turn heat to the lowest simmer possible. Sprinkle in the basil and parsley and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the drained pasta into the sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese or garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Yields 6 servings


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