K Weigh Penne alla Vodka

by Khushboo on March 28, 2016

While there are a number of perks that come with writing a blog, one of my absolute favorites is having a platform to share my excitement about food with others who feel the same. A good example is this gorgeous bowl of Penne alla Vodka I made for dinner last week: 

Penne alla Vodka - fork

For those of you unfamiliar with this iconic dish, penne alla vodka is a pasta dish made from crushed tomatoes, vodka, heavy cream, butter & parmesan- not exactly your idea of a healthy dish.  I call my version the K Weigh Penne alla Vodka. 

 Penne alla Vodka - ingredients

Aside from being made by yours truly, my take on this dish truly embodies what K Weigh is all about i.e. finding the balance between foods that nourish your body & foods that feed your soul to ensure optimal & long-lasting results.  While I’m all about indulging in the real deal every so often, some days I prefer to tweak a recipe to lighten it up and/or add some nutritional pizzazz.  For extra volume, nutrients & somewhat of a meaty texture, I added in eggplant & mushrooms. Although the veggies add fibre in their own right, feel free to add some more by using a wholemeal variety of pasta.  My recipe skips the vodka completely, but I promise you won’t even miss it – the dish bursts with more than enough flavor. Rather than heavy cream, butter & parmesan, this K Weigh Penne alla Vodka relies on cream cheese (i.e. my current addiction) to add richness and that delicious cheesy flavour we all love so much. 

Penne alla Vodka- Skillet

Guys I’m telling you– this is the kind of comfort food you can actually feel smug about eating.  Just promise me you will use the full-fat variety of cream cheese.  If you’re concerned about the extra calories, consider this:

1 tablespoon of full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese contains 49 calories, 5g fat, 0.5g carb & 1g protein whereas 1 tablespoon of reduced-fat Philadelphia cream cheese contains 35 calories, 3g fat, 1g carb & 1g protein

If you ask me, those extra 14 calories are negligible when it comes to creaminess & taste!

And if the dish isn’t beautiful enough as it is, take comfort in the fact that it only takes 20 minutes to whip up…prep time included:

K Weigh Penne alla Vodka
Serves 1
Without skimping on taste or creaminess, this bowl of pasta is a healthier alternative to Penne alla Vodka.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 50g wholemeal penne*
  2. Olive oil or cooking spray
  3. 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  4. 2 baby eggplants, cut into 1 ½ -inch cubes
  5. 1 cup marinara sauce*
  6. 1 ½ tablespoons full-fat cream cheese
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. Chili flakes or Tabasco sauce
  9. 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley - optional
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Coat a large skillet with olive oil (or cooking spray) and place over medium heat. Once oil has heated, add in the mushrooms and eggplant. Sauté until veggies begin to soften.
  3. Add pasta, marinara sauce, cream cheese, garlic powder and chili flakes (or Tabasco). Reduce heat to low and stir to combine well. Once pasta has heated through & the cheese has melted, turn off heat. Garnish with parsley & serve.
Notes
  1. i) Feel free to replace penne with any other pasta shape. I used a mix of penne, rotelle, tortiglioni, conchiglie & radiatori.
  2. ii) If you’re using a jarred variety of marinara sauce, opt for one that doesn’t contain added sugar, chemicals or stabilizers in the ingredient list.
Khushboo's Blog http://kthadani.com/
What’s your favourite pasta dish?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsea A March 28, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Sounds delicious! Great idea to use cream cheese to add creaminess to the dish. I don’t really like vodka anyways, so it sounds better to me without it! 😉

My favourite pasta dish is some kind of ravioli, especially butternut squash ravioli!

Reply

Khushboo March 30, 2016 at 11:22 am

Mmm that sounds amazing- any chance you have a recipe? I love BNS in just about any form!!

Reply

Lucie@FitSwissChick March 28, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Heaven!
I haven’t had pasta in ages, but when I do, I love the classic Bolognese, or fettucine with seafood or salmon!
I’ll have a Vodka Tonic on the side, much better 🙂

Reply

Khushboo March 30, 2016 at 11:23 am

Pshhhh no pasta in ages- what kinda European are you ;)?? Fortunately your choice of pasta favourites redeem you- nothing like a Bolognese done right!

Reply

dixya @ food, pleasure, and health March 29, 2016 at 3:51 am

i love pasta as well..lately i have discovered lentil pasta and really enjoying it. i am not a big fan of creamy white sauce..im all for tomato-based recipe and this sounds wonderful.

Reply

Khushboo March 30, 2016 at 11:23 am

Oh wow lentil pasta sounds awesome- great way to add plant-based protein to your meal too!

Reply

Parita March 30, 2016 at 6:19 am

Love your take on penne alla vodka! My favorite pasta dish is my mom’s lasagna! It’s out of this world.

Reply

Khushboo March 30, 2016 at 11:24 am

Yum- you should definitely get her to guest post and share the recipe on your blog :)!

Reply

Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets March 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm

I think subbing the butter and cream cheese with cream cheese was a fantastic idea. Greek yogurt would add a little oomph too although you’d have to cut the tang somehow.

Bring on the carbs.

Reply

Khushboo April 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Another great stir-in is cottage cheese! Creaminess without the tang :D!

Reply

Salma April 1, 2016 at 2:06 am

Love that you’ve add a kick of spiciness!

Reply

Khushboo April 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Pasta requires a bit of spice :)!

Reply

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