I love making romantic dinners with my man for a low-key date night in… anything Italian just screams AMORE to me; so it was an obvious choice when my bf asked what I was craving.
We decided on penne alla vodka– but after finally making it to a spin class this morning… I was a little hesitant… it was the first time I had a chance to work out all week, and I felt that with such a decadent dish– all my hard work in the gym would be for nothing!
Fortunately, I put my Italian roots to good use and played with my own family recipe to make a healthier version of the real deal… for a guilt free romantic night!
A few simple alterations make all the difference– I used whole wheat pasta and fat free half and half to substitute and decided to nix the parmesan cheese altogether.
The key to great sauce is a great base– to start use whole, hearty, healthy ingredients.. I first, sauteed garlic and onions in olive oil… then, I chopped fresh tomatoes on top of adding a large can of diced tomatoes from trader joes!
I then blended in fresh basil, oregano, pepper flakes and salt/pepper to taste… and viola! That is the secret to a basic Italian sauce– so easy right?! Now to transform it into a vodka sauce– all that is missing is some half and half, and vodka… duh!
Add those two ingredients slowly– start by pouring in about a quarter of a cup of each and taste with a big chef’s spoon… keep adding until it tastes just the way you like it! Let the sauce come to a boil and then simmer until it thickens…
Keep in mind that when baking– measuring each ingredient out exactly is crucial, but when cooking… there is a lot less pressure to be perfect! Have fun with it! No exact amount of anything is needed! So cook to suit your taste buds and your waistline!
Okay well that was easy… my penne is done! Hmmmm… what else am I missing?
Wine (in my new anthropology glasses– gorgeous huh?!) … check!
The perfect romantic dinner has commenced… the healthy way. Enjoy at home with your special someone…