Penne with Vodka Sauce & Vegetables

I’ve noticed a pattern in the food I’ve been eating lately – vegetarian and with zucchini. For someone who didn’t touch zucchini as a kid and grew up eating deer meat and rabbit, this is an interesting revelation. Trust me when I tell you, I prefer my diet much more now. Although I wish I didn’t eat so many carbs, I’m happy that I don’t eat nearly as much as I did when I was a vegetarian and ate pasta constantly. As in every single night. Because things have changed, I look forward to a hearty pasta dish, especially one made with vodka sauce. Penne with Vodka Sauce and Vegetables is a lightened up version of regular pasta in vodka sauce which is hearty enough that you won’t even notice the fact that there is no meat in sight.

Whole-wheat penne is mixed with zucchini, peas, onion and spinach and tossed in a tomato sauce made with vodka and half-and-half. The sauce is creamy and light, given subtle touch of heat from red pepper flake. Add Canadian bacon for an additional flavor boost as per the recipe if you prefer.  This recipe makes a ton, making it perfect for a family, guests or tons of leftovers.  This will be my lunch and dinner for days but that’s ok.  I’m used to eating a lot of pasta.

The ingredients:

Cook penne according to package directions, approximately 11 minutes. Add zucchini and peas during last 3 minutes and stir in spinach. Drain and place back into the pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; add vodka and cook 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and red pepper flake. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Stir half-and-half and half of the parmesan cheese into the sauce.

Toss sauce with pasta and let stand for 10 minutes.

Spoon into serving bowl and top with remaining cheese.

Additions: None


  • Canadian bacon


  • Whole-wheat penne

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Family Circle Magazine

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