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Penne alla Vodka (With or without the Vodka)

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Penne Alla Vodka – without the vodka! (A lightened-up version.)

penne alla vodka without vodka

This is a lightened-up version of Penne alla Vodka.  

I don’t keep Vodka around too much, so I usually just omit it.  

Tastes great without it, but I guess I should be calling it Penne sans Vodka…  😉

I figured out the calories in this recipe using the recipe calorie counter in myfitnesspal.  If you get 6 servings out of the recipe, it would be 311 calories and if you get 8 servings it would be only 233 calories.  Adding 2 oz of Vodka only adds about 130 calories to the whole dish.  (I’ve made it both ways and don’t see a big difference in flavor with or without the vodka…)

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penne alla vodka without vodka

Penne alla Vodka (With or without the Vodka)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth (if needed)
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cups half n half
  • 14 oz box of penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 1/4 cup dry parmesan cheese
  • (optional- pre-cooked chicken)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or skillet; sauté the onions for about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté another 3 minutes or so, until golden brown.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. (Be sure to start with a pan large enough to hold the entire recipe.)
  3. Stir in the oregano, basil, salt, pepper and red pepper.
  4. Simmer about 30 minutes.  If your tomato mixture seems dry, add a little bit of chicken broth.
  5. Meanwhile, start your pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well
  6. After the sauce has simmered, add the half n half to the tomato mixture; stir to mix. (If you wanted to add a bit of pre-cooked chicken, add it in after you have mixed in the half n half)
  7. Add cooked pasta to the tomato cream mixture, mix well, and top with parmesan cheese.

Optional vodka: If you wanted to add 2 oz of Vodka, add in after the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes.


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One Comment

  1. I am so gonna try this when I get back from vacation! Thanks for emailing me!