Creamy Penne alla Vodka with Chicken & Spinach


This creamy penne alla vodka with chicken and spinach is warm and comforting with bright flavors from crushed tomatoes and fresh spinach. Chicken cutlets cook up quickly and offer the perfect complement to the quick and creamy sauce. Serve with a piece of crusty bread and a green salad on the side.

Creamy Penne alla Vodka with Chicken and Spinach
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Nutrition Profile:


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne

  • 1 pound chicken cutlets

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup vodka

  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

  • Grated Parmesan for serving


  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Cut into bite-size pieces when cool enough to handle.

  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add vodka; cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cream, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring a few times, until reduced but still saucy, about 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices along with the penne to the pan. Stir until heated through. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

390 Calories
14g Fat
37g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 390
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 26g 52%
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Vitamin A 3352IU 67%
Vitamin C 18mg 20%
Vitamin D 13IU 3%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 32mcg 8%
Vitamin K 183mcg 153%
Sodium 379mg 16%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 4mg 22%
Magnesium 80mg 19%
Potassium 434mg 9%
Zinc 1mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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