The dirty little secret about penne alla 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.
2 cups Low-fat marinara sauce
Pinch Crushed red pepper
7 oz 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup Chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp 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 sauté 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 sauté 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.
Nutrition Facts Fat: 4.8 g Calories: 320 Protein: 18 g Carbohydrates: 55 g Cholesterol: 11 mg Fiber: 6 g Sodium: 416 mg Healthy Tips* 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. Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito is a popular television personality and the author of numerous hit cookbooks including his current New York Times bestseller Now Eat This! available wherever books are sold.