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Penne with Vodka Sauce & Turkey Bacon

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes • Serves: 6

1 box (14.5 ounces) whole wheat penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 slices turkey bacon, each cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces or 1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large sprigs fresh basil
1/2 cup vodka
1-1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup half and half, at room temperature
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1.Heat large covered saucepot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook as label directs. Drain pasta and return to saucepot.

2.Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. With spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate.

3.In same skillet, cook garlic, onion and salt over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is soft, stirring frequently. Increase heat to high and stir in basil sprigs and vodka; heat to boiling and cook 1 minute or until mixture is reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in tomatoes, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning, and cook, covered, 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; uncover. Remove and discard basil. Stir in bacon and half and half.

4.Pour sauce over pasta and toss until well combined. Serve garnished with cheese.


Approximate nutritional values per serving: 

357 Calories, 7g Fat (2g Saturated), 19mg Cholesterol,
469mg Sodium, 59g Carbohydrates, 8g Fiber, 13g Protein

Dietitian’s tip:
> When purchasing canned tomatoes, look for the varieties with “no added salt” to help meet the daily recommendation for 2400mg or less of sodium per day. Try adding spinach leaves to pasta to boost nutritional value of recipe.