RecipeBaked Penne Alla Vodka

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 370
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Total Fat: 13 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 9.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 44 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6 g
  • Total Sugar: 4 g
    • Natural Sugar: 4 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 480 mg

The easiest and healthiest vodka sauce ever… WHAT?!

Yup, move over Gigi Hadid, my unique spin on everyone’s favorite pasta dish has officially arrived. Admittedly this joyful rendition takes a few liberties, but there’s one integral component that isn’t going anywhere: the booze, LOL. Plus, the entire sauce comes together in a single casserole dish and is full of velvety flavor and crave-worthy goodness. I skip the heavy cream and butter, and replace it with a combo of ricotta cheese and hummus, a chickpea-based dip or spread that lends a rich, smooth texture and a ton of nutrition (it’s extra delish with a garlic-flavored variety). This lightened-up version of an Italian classic is a one-and-done meal that’s fun, flavorful, and totally feisty.

A penne for your crew’s thoughts? Get ready for rave reviews!

Recipe notes:
• I love using whole-grain or legume-based pasta to increase the fiber and nutrition. I went with Barilla Protein Plus here, which is reflected in the nutrition.

• Be sure to use a 14oz box of pasta (or a box that holds less than 14oz). That’s because if you add more than 14oz of cooked pasta it may not be saucy enough—and it may be too much penne to fit in the casserole dish.

• Add fresh herbs of choice to give it your own signature flavor.

• Feel free to change up the flavor of your hummus— roasted garlic or plain work beautifully!

• The vodka adds the fun factor and elevates the flavor and aroma of the dish. It also acts as an emulsifier making it a super creamy, dreamy sauce.

Don’t worry, you will not have any drunk kids running around! I use a small amount of vodka and the alcohol component gets cooked off in the oven. However, if you prefer to skip the alcohol, you can swap in ¼ cup broth. And if you don’t have vodka in the house, you can easily swap in ¼ cup red or white wine, too.

• You can choose to add all the Parmesan into the saucy mixture before adding the pasta, as written below in the directions. Or, you can save ¼ cup Parm to sprinkle on top of your finished dish and then place it back in the oven for about 5 more minutes to create a cheesy finish.

• This will last in an air-tight container for 3-4 days in fridge.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 6 servings (2 cups per serving)
Ingredients:
  • • 2 pints (4 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder (or 4 minced cloves)
  • • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • • 1 cup plain or garlic-flavored hummus
  • • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • • ¼ cup vodka*
  • • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • • 14-ounce box of cooked and drained penne
  • • Optional garnish: additional Parmesan, chopped herbs, crushed red pepper flakes

*The vodka elevates the flavor and aroma of this classic dish, and acts as an emulsifier, making the sauce creamy. But you can choose to omit it completely or swap in broth or wine. The alcohol cooks off in the oven so you don’t have to worry about getting tipsy!  

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Add cherry tomatoes to a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Drizzle on oil and toss to coat. Mix in garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Push tomatoes to outer perimeter, creating a well in middle. Add hummus and ricotta cheese to center. Drizzle vodka evenly over the outer tomatoes.

Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tomatoes are looking puckered and juicy.

Remove from oven and, using the back of a large spoon, smash all tomatoes, letting out juices and pulverizing skin into smaller pieces (the juice will be scorching hot, so be careful not to let it splatter on you). Mix everything together to create a rich, creamy sauce. Mix in Parm. Add penne to dish; stir to combine. Garnish with optional herbs, extra Parm and crushed red pepper flakes.

Nutrition provided per 2 cups pasta. 

Watch this!

 

Looking for something booze-free? Try my Penne Alla Hummus!