For this healthy riff on penne alla vodka, chickpeas replace the pasta, and oat milk, which lends a delightfully silky texture, is used instead of heavy cream. Store-bought or prepared marinara sauce makes this recipe fast and easy.
Technique tip: To prevent the alcohol from igniting when you add it to the hot pan, simply turn off the flame before adding the vodka.
Swap option: If you would like to use pasta instead of the chickpeas, you can use 12 ounces to 1 pound of dried penne. Just cook the pasta according to the package directions before tossing with the sauce.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 cup prepared marinara sauce
- 3/4 cup oat milk or creamer
- 3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- basil leaves, for serving
- finely grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomato paste and crushed red pepper and cook until sizzling, about 30 seconds. Carefully add the vodka (turning off the flame is the safest way to do this) and cook for 30 seconds, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the marinara sauce and oat milk and bring to a simmer. Add the chickpeas and cook until hot and coated in a light sauce, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if using.