I’m Italian.  I know that’s shocking – with a last name of Farina – but it really explains my obsession with pasta and all the sauces that go with it.  You see, in my house growing up, pasta was, at the very least, a twice a week affair; absolutely on Sunday and Wednesday – AND Friday, if we were lucky.  And, one of my all time favorites is Gluten Free Vodka Sauce.   Yum – doesn’t that look delicious???  I combined the sauce with Gluten Free Chickpea Gnocchi here for a high-protein boost as well.

I was challenged to come up with a healthier version of Vodka Sauce by my company’s Health & Wellness team. So, I reworked my favorite recipe several different ways – I traded out the heavy cream for milk and then half and half, and a few other things,  but the best result I had was by reducing the amount of real heavy cream.   The heavy cream provided a beautiful appearance AND mouthfeel AND was able to withstand the acidity of the tomatoes without curdling.  And, the best part is that it provided the most attractive nutritionals.

Now, in most cooking and baking, one of the most important things is the quality of your ingredients.  And, in this case, it is most important when choosing the vodka that you’re going to use.  You don’t want bottom shelf here.  You’ll notice the difference right away if you use cheap vodka.  In this case, I chose Tito’s brand.  But, you can substitute your favorite with excellent results.

And, you’ll need to think a bit ahead if you’re going to make this sauce.  The ‘heat’ in the recipe comes from dried crushed hot red peppers that are steeped in that high-quality vodka.  I like to do that overnight, but, if you’re in a hurry, I’ve steeped them for 4 hours and the results were also good.

This Gluten Free Vodka Sauce comes together very, very quickly.  You’ll want to be sure that your pasta is cooked and at the ready.  I like to serve it immediately, but leftovers, if there are any, are fabulous as well.

And, here is the nutritional information on the Gluten Free Vodka Sauce:

Servings = 4

Nutritional information per serving:

170 calories, 2 g protein, 5g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 3g total sugar, 9g total fat (4g saturated, 4g monounsaturated, 1g polyunsaturated), 20mg cholesterol, 279mg sodium, 98µg Vit A, 14mg Vit C, 49mg calcium, 11mg choline

Deb Farina

Yields 4 servings

Gluten Free Vodka Sauce – Reduced Fat

20 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Recipe Image

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  • 1/2 pound gluten free pasta or http://glutenfreefarina.com/2016/05/15/gluten-free-chickpea-gnocchi-lemon-hazelnut-cream/
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed hot red pepper
  • 1/2 cup top-shelf vodka (I used Tito’s)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 1 – 14 and 1/2 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)


  1. Steep dried crushed hot red pepper in vodka in a glass jar overnight. Strain the vodka, reserve it and discard pepper.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  3. Heat oil in large, non-stick skillet, over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, vodka, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in cream and heat through about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add cooked pasta and basil and gently stir to combine.
  7. Serve immediately.


Hope you love this as much as I do.

Buon Appetito!

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