A "No-Cream" Vodka Penne Recipe Your Waistline Will Love

by The Z Living Editors
1 Week ago 2 weeks ago 3 weeks ago
  • Total Time: 25 Mins
  • Cook: 15 Mins
  • Prep: 10 Mins
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: Beginner

It feels safe to say, at this point we have established that Italian food is not only the best tasting, but the most fun to eat! Those savory and heavy pasta dishes, while mouthwatering and delicious, usually don't represent the healthier side of dining. However, chef Rocco DiSpirito from Z Living's show Now Eat This!, is back with another healthy Italian favorite—Penne alla Vodka. We promise it will taste great and save you on all those unwanted calories. 

Rocco says it best: "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."

Check out more about Now Eat This! here and find out where to watch the show.

Time to dig in and finally enjoy a healthy version of our favorite pasta!


  • 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
  • A single 7-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt
  • A single cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir about 1/2 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.
  4. 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.

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