No Cream-No Cry Penne alla Vodka
Editor's Note: Vodka sauce is the perfect marriage of tomato and cream, but No Cream-No Cry Penne alla Vodka is one pasta recipe you don't have to feel guilty about indulging in. If you've been wondering how to make vodka sauce that's not heavy on the calories, here it is: this low-fat vodka sauce recipe swaps out the cream for Greek yogurt, maintaining the rich flavor of the sauce while cutting the fat and calories. Pair it with whole-wheat penne for a penne alla vodka recipe that you can really feel good about.
The dirty little secret about Penne alia Vodka is not the vodka but the hefty amount of heavy cream. Vodka is colorless, odorless, and without much flavor--not really attributes of a superstar ingredient. It’s the combination of cream and tomato sauce that gives this dish its signature flavor. The traditional cream is swapped here for low-fat Greek yogurt.
OccasionCooking for a date
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Halal, Healthy, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian
Taste and TextureCreamy, Herby, Rich
Type of DishPasta
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne
- 2 cups Rocco’s How Low Can You Go Low-Fat Marinara Sauce or store-bought low-fat marinara sauce
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- One 7-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, about 9 minutes; drain.
While the pasta is cooking, bring the marinara sauce and crushed red pepper to a simmer in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Cook the sauce, stirring it occasionally with a heat-resistant rubber spatula, until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the saute pan from the heat.
Stir about ½ cup of the marinara sauce into the yogurt until smooth (this tempers it and prevents the yogurt from curdling). Then whisk the yogurt mixture back into the marinara sauce.
In a large serving bowl, toss the sauce with the drained penne and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and serve.
Whole-wheat pasta has a dense texture that makes it a little tougher than regular pasta. Some people like that chewiness; some don’t. If you’re in the latter category, overcook it a bit. Toward the end of the cooking time, keep testing it until it’s as tender as you like it.
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