Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka - Celiac Disease
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Feb 12 2011

Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka

I am always on the lookout for new, healthy recipes, so when I saw a "tweet" last week from from Rocco DiSpirito about his low-fat version, I was all over it.  The recipe as DiSpirito had written it was not gluten-free, but it was simple enough to modify.  Additionally, I didn’t have any fresh basil, so I improvised a little more with kale.  My version turned out really good and I can’t wait to have leftovers tonight!

Penne Alla Vodka

(original recipe by Rocco DiSpirito, modified by me)

8 oz Gluten-free Pasta – I used Jovial 

2 cups marinara sauce – I used Prego Three Cheese

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1 container (7 oz) Greek yogurt – I used Dannon Plain (it is the only Dannon variety that is gluten-free)

1 cup chopped steamed or sauteed kale (I used 365 Value Brand frozen chopped)

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese


1.  Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. 

2.  While pasta is cooking, heat the pasta sauce & crushed red pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes or so.

3.  Stir about 1/2 cup of marinara into the yogurt until smooth.  Stir this mixture back into the sauce.  Tempering the mixture helps prevent the yogurt from curdling.

4.  In a large bowl, toss drained pasta with kale & sauce.  Season with salt & pepper and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

5.  Enjoy!

I love how this turned out!  I am sure that it would be awesome with the fresh basil, but I love kale, so it worked.  You may notice that there is no vodka in this recipe.  As DiSpirito mentions at the beginning of his recipe, vodka is colorless and doesn’t give the traditional dish it’s color or flavor, the heavy cream does.  Swapping the heavy cream for Greek yogurt makes this dish much healthier. 

Do you have any tricks for modifying traditional dishes to make them healthier?  I know most times I am focused on making a dish gluten-free, so I always try to make it healthier at the same time. 

Article Written by:

Kimberly Bouldin is a gluten-free wife, runner & blogger with two children in Columbus, Ohio. After her celiac diagnosis in 2006, she has made it her mission to embrace an entirely new approach to nutrition in a gluten-free world, exploring options that run the gamut from "made from scratch" homemade bread to sampling and reviewing the gluten-free prepared foods that are continuously being introduced to the market. While navigating the waters of becoming gluten-free, Kim shares her experiences and passes along valuable product reviews in addition to helping other moms of celiac kids develop healthy menus that are kid-friendly and palatable. Kimberly is a valuable resource for those who are newly diagnosed, as well as for the more seasoned gluten-free veterans. Follow Kim on Twitter!


  1. Ann says:

    Looks great – can’t wait to try this!


  1. Product Review: Jovial Cookies & Pasta « Gluten-free is Life says:

    […] from Rocco Dispirito called “Penne alla Vodka”.  You can read more about the recipe in my post over on, but until you do, here is a picture of the yumminess that this dish […]

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