Penne alla Vodka

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Who doesn’t love Vodka Sauce!! It is said that the vodka is used to release the acids and flavor in the sauce and enhance the sweetness of the cream. To lower the points I use half and half in place of heavy cream. Eat this with a low carb or high fiber pasta like Ronzoni Smart Taste to keep the points low and top with fresh grated cheese.

5 from 2 votes
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Penne alla Vodka

356 Cals Protein Carbs Fats
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Italian


  • 2 tsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 oz prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 12 oz uncooked, 6 cups cooked whole wheat or high fiber penne


  • In a large sauté pan heat butter on a low flame.
  • Add garlic and shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add prosciutto and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.
  • Add tomatoes, vodka, salt and pepper and cook on low, covered about 20 minutes.
  • Add basil and half and half, mix well and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Serve this over pasta and top with grated cheese.


Serving: 1cup pasta, 7.25 fl oz sauce, Calories: 356kcal

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  1. This was disappointing, it didn’t taste like vodka sauce at all. I even tried cooking it for 40 minutes as someone else suggested. It wasn’t creamy, more like a tomato sauce.

  2. What makes this recipe go from okay to EXCELLENT (and the issue that I think some other people had) is that you need to simmer the tomato mixture step for about 30-40 minutes UNCOVERED, not 20 minutes covered as the recipe states. This allows the water to evaporate and cook out, thus reducing the sauce into restaurant-quality perfection. Otherwise, perfection as written! Thank you Gina!

    • Also wanted to add I used center-cut bacon instead of prosciutto because its what I had on hand, and it worked great for anyone who was wondering if this is an okay substitute.

  3. I made this again tonight after not making it for over a year! Why did I wait so long?! Scrumptious. P.S. Menage a Trois California Rosé pairs excellently with this dish.

  4. Any tips for chopping the prosciutto? It gets stuck together so easily. Thanks for all the great recipes! 

  5. I’m in love with this recipe. I’d like to try it in a stove top lasagna. With pasta or zucchini. If you by any chance make a recipe that uses those please e-mail me. I may just play along in the kitchen, I love to cook I just forget to write out recipe. I need one of those gadgets I can dictate to make lists for me. I’ve never made vodka sauce and I’m thoroughly excited. Thanks

  6. At Pint Defiance, containers of Orval will be accessible for clients to drink on premises straight wheat whiskey, and the initial forty-eight to do as such get the chance to take home a credible Trappist glass.

  7. Delicious! I used zoodles instead of pasta and it was delicious. Do you know the nutrition of just the sauce without the pasta?

  8. I put this into the tracker and got 11P+. It seems like most people are getting closer to 9 or 10. Should I be accounting for all the vodka since part of it will burn off?

  9. This sauce was delish! If you're worried about the 1/4 cup of half-and-half, I did taste the sauce before adding, and it was delish then as well. I did cheat and use panchetta, though, so I don't know what that would've done to the calorie count. One cup of it was more than enough. I filled the rest of my plate with a yummy spinach salad.

    Gina, you are so far 4 for 4. We have loved all I have cooked from this site and we are going for 5 for 5 tonight. I've also now served 2 of your recipes to dinner guests and both this and your chicken enchiladas got good reviews. Recipe Rehab fell down on recipe number 2!! Love love LOVE your site! Thanks!! 🙂

  10. I am so surprised at the number of negative and so-so reviews of this recipe! I followed the recipe as written (except that I added a tad more red pepper flakes because we like a little more heat) and it came out perfectly! The sauce wasn't a creamy, rich sauce like you get at a restaurant, but how could it be for this few calories? The lack of creaminess from heavy cream was fully compensated for by the flavor of the sauce. I think my husband said it best – restaurant quality but guilt free!

  11. Was wondering if there is a substitute (another alcohol) for Vodka in a Vodka sauce in general. Don't have any Vodka on hand but do have a plethora of other clear alcohols (gin, rum, white wine…). I know it is a Vodka sauce so the question sounds silly but figured I'd ask before heading out and buying some Vodka! Thanks!

  12. I looked up the ingredients in my tracker and scaled them to one serving, and came up with a value of 9 points plus. I think I need to make this tonight. I am in a cooking rut.

  13. Thanks so much for this recipe. I order this all the time anywhere I can get it. I used fat free half and half and mixed in some broc. The kids loved it so much that on top of asking for seconds, I had to grab plates because they were trying to lick them clean lol. Off to make your black bean soup.

  14. Can you substitute 2% milk for the half&half??

  15. Coming from an Italian girl, I loved this! It was amazing & for a lightened up version it hit the spot. I so agree with you Gina – using wholesome ingredients. I used the horizon 1/2 & 1/2 for this. 12 grams of fat over 6 serving, 2 grams per person is not a lot of fat at all. I rather the real deal- then artificial chemicals. Especially when you don't need a lot. I'll take this for 7 points any day.

    That is why I love your recipes – you use lightened ingredients or small amounts of the high fat (good fat) ingredients, not compromising the taste. I have never cooked with recipes – My grandmothers and mom have taught me to cook & I like to just cook what I know or make it up (plus I hate to follow directions). However – since I found your site, this is my new safety net. In addition to loosing weight my family & I love everything I have been preparing, thanks to you.

    New recipe every night for the last 3 weeks.
    Your friend forever and now 5 lbs lighter,

  16. Made this tonight with light butter, fresh tomatoes and ff half and half (all we had on hand). I came up with 10P+. Anyone else get a similar calculation? The sauce was a little watery (we could have used too much water), but delicious. We were considering modifying to make into a tomato soup next time!

  17. I tried this recipe tonight. It was good but not what I was expecting. I have never made or tried a vodka sauce before so I wasn't sure what my end goal was. It was yummy but two things stood out to me. The first was that the cream curdled the second I added it to the sauce, I realize this is always a possibility with the acid from tomatoes but I am curious how others avoided it. The second is that the end result tasted like a simple marinara sauce, no creaminess and no vodka (although not sure what role the vodka is supposed to play in the sauce)

  18. I made this tonight and I am sad to say that I won't be making it again 🙁
    It didn't come out anything like your picture, and more like what someone else posted above – very watery and chunky. (I did use fat free half & half though). I really didn't like the chunks in it – guess I should've thought about that before using the diced tomatoes. I think I would've preferred it with just a regular tomato sauce instead, with the vodka and half & half. (and I'm think regular half & half should be used for the creaminess, because it was VERY watery and the sauce did not stick to the pasta at all). I also used the Ronzoni smart taste penne rigate. Finally, I'm wondering, is Prosciutto typically used in Penne Vodka? I've only ever seen and eaten it with Pancetta. I really didn't like the consistency of the Prosciutto.. it almost tasted like chewing plastic or something.. hard to explain. Maybe I did something wrong, not sure.. I was really hoping to love this one, as I love all of your other recipes!!

  19. This looks great! Would you mind updating this recipe with points +??

    I do love that you don't use the weird substitutions (like fake noodles). When I want noodles I want real noodles! 🙂

    Looking forward to trying this thanks!!

  20. Oh my goodness, this recipe is so good! My hubby and I just joined WW and he was amazed at the flavor of this pasta dish. I had just bought a tube of umami paste at Whole Foods (described oas the savory 5th taste–besides sweet, salty, sour ,bitter) and I added a 1/2 teaspoon in at the end with the basil–superb!
    Thank you for creating these recipes….

  21. Hi Gina!! I love your site – I make your recipes all of the time. Quick question… we made this and it was REALLY onion'y. This is my first time using shallots so I'm wondering if I did something wrong. The shallots I used were a little larger than a large egg (and there were 3 of them). Did I do something wrong? Thanks!!

  22. I used fat free Half & Half and thought it was fabulous. I also used Ronzoni penne (the whole box, so an extra 2.5 oz). I don't have a recipe building app, but I figured it out to be 5 Points+ per cup (I had 12 cups total). This was excellent and quite simple! Thanks, Gina!

  23. Thank you for an interesting recipe! I will try it!

  24. How many Points+ is this?

  25. I made this recipe last night, and really wanted to love it…but 1/2 cup of vodka was WAY too much! The vodka taste was completely overpowering. In the end I added another half a can of crushed tomatoes and more half and half and it was a little bit better…but we wound up dumping most of the leftovers. I will definitely make again, but with much less vodka.

  26. I use a variation of this recipe I found at but have adapted to suit myself. I use skim milk and add ww bacon instead. I'm on Aussie WW and the points vary when I add via Etools. So Aussies beware of overseas ww recipes.

  27. This sounds just like the homemade vodka sauce I make although I do add hot Italian sausage (def not WW friendly HA) but this version sounds delicious too! My bf will probably miss the sausage but I try to get him to healthier along with me anyway 🙂

  28. @Katherine- Maybe it was the tomatoes, some are chunkier than others. If you have an immersion blender, use that to puree it in the pot.

  29. For some reason, mine did not come out looking quite as delightful as yours did. :(… Your dish looked like the vodka sauce was more like the texture of tomato sauce… but creamier. Mine came out more liquidy (I know – I made that word up), and the tomatoes were chunky and you could see the garlic and shallots… I don't know what I did differently/wrong. It did taste great… but I think it might have tasted better if it came out more like yours… maybe I needed to run it through the food processor for a little bit to make it smooth…

  30. @cricker, Technically you could. I'm just not sure how it would taste.

  31. Could you substitute plain greek yogurt for the half and half? Just wondering. I've done that in soups and it works well.

  32. @Amanda- You're welcome! For cooking I use regular butter or Smart Balance. I love Brummel and Brown's as well, but not for cooking.

  33. For the butter, what kind do you use, stick or tub? Do you have a particular brand you prefer? I only keep Brummel and Brown's yogurt blend, but it doesn't work very well when cooking. I can't wait to make this!

    And, I love your site! I look at it everyday and already have enough recipes I want to try to make it through the rest of the year! Thank you so much for "normal" recipes!

  34. @Meredith, yes, this is fine to freeze!

    Glad you liked it!

    Fat Free Half and Half bothers my stomach which is why I don't use it often.

  35. Fat free half and half may taste ok, but they add so much other stuff–like sugar–to make up for the lack of fat that it isn't worth it!

  36. I made this last night and it was wonderful! I have made numerous recipes from your site and each one has been wonderful I cannot thank you enough!! Keep them coming!

  37. Hi Gina,

    This might seem like a silly question but is the pasta sauce okay to freeze and use again another time? I normally am cooking for myself and wouldn't eat it all at one time so I just wanted to make sure – it looks awesome!!

  38. Enjoy and thanks for leaving a comment!

    I have tried fat free half and half, just have not always had success with cooking with it. It's great in my coffee, tastes just like the real thing! Thanks for sharing!

  39. this is very good i just tried it!

  40. Oh Gina, I think that's hilarious..2 tsp. of butter sure did get her panties in a bunch! I'm having this for dinner tonight and I'm so excited! I've gotten my future mother in law hooked on your website too so she made this for my fiance and me for dinner tonight. Thank you so much for these recipes! I haven't tried one that I don't love! Also the Land O' Lakes Fat Free Half and Half I think is the best..we use it for everything (coffee, recipes, etc.). It just seems to be creamier than some.

  41. Gina…DARLING…this is definitely a favorite for me. Never made this but will certainly try it now! Maybe next week. Thanks..and keep up the dynamic work in here! love ya Nella..

  42. That must taste delish~~ Thank You

  43. @Cupcakes to carrot stick- what a cute name! Thanks for your comment, I'm happy you have liked everything so far. There are plenty of sites out there that have low point recipes using Splenda, miracle noodles, and so on. I am not that kind of site, and I'm sure, I'm not going to please everyone. I just want people to have a place to go when they want to eat healthy food and not feel like they are on a diet. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  44. Gina – I can't wait to try this recipe! I think my husband and I have tried about 50% of your recipes on here after just finding your site a few months ago and I have yet to find one that I don't like or isn't worth the points. If I wanted to diet and eat cardboard then I would do another program. That is the beauty of WW and your recipes, they are oh so good and the points are perfect! Thank you for supplying me and my husband with lots of fun and love in the kitchen!!

  45. @chefinmyhead- I've had good and bad, haven't tried it in vodka sauce. I may give it a try next time.

    @brenda- This is a much lighter version of vodka sauce. It's usually made with heavy cream and more butter or oil. 2 tsp butter divided between 6 people is not a lot of butter. I think 6.25 pts for a home cooked pasta dinner is very reasonable and if you love vodka sauce, you are cutting out a tremendous amount of points than if you were ordering this out. With a salad or veggie on the side, this makes a great dinner.

    I can easily make this lower in points with those fake noodles that are out there or eliminating the butter or cream, but I have to eat this food and serve my family as well, and I think the reason most of the people who frequent here, like the fact that they are eating good tasting food. That said, anyone can modify these recipes to make them lower in points if they wish.

    • Right on! The reason I love your recipes so much is because you use real ingredients that I love but in modest amounts. I've lost 5 pounds in the last two weeks eating your recipes and it sure doesn't feel like dieting!

  46. Butter and cream? Not a WW recipe to my way of thinking and the point count is WAY too high to be worth it for a one cup serving.

    I'd prefer that the recipes include ALL options that make them as much bang for the buck as possible.

    Yes, it looks great — just like any cream and butter pasta recipe I could find in any of my other cookbooks!

  47. So making this tonight!

  48. I love your recipes!! And so does my family. It makes keeping weight off easy. I can't wait to try this one. Keep the recipes coming, I look forward to seeing more.

  49. I have great luck with fat free half & half. Give it a try. This looks so wonderful, thank you for sharing! ~LeslieMichele

  50. I like it extra creamy so I usually add more cream… more points. I've never tried fat free half and half, not sure how that would taste but it would be lower in points. If anyone has tried it, let me know.

  51. This one is a must. I love pasta and vodka it's a go!

  52. oh my word!!! That looks absolutely fabulous!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  53. Come on over!!

  54. Maybe I should just come over for dinner? lol Looks great! 🙂