Instant pot penne alla vodka and sausage is made with my skinny, weight watchers’ approved creamy vodka sauce. Fun fact: my family is OBSESSED with penne alla vodka. When I tell you obsessed, I mean ridiculously beyond crazy obsessed. We can go to an Italian restaurant every night for a good penne vodka dish. But that can get very very high in points. So, as I usually do, I said, why don’t I put my Allie Carte spin on it and make something extremely delicious that’s low in points! How good does this super creamy, tasteful sauce look! I pair it with sausage because that goes perfectly with this dish!
This skinny vodka sauce is so rich and creamy. Trust me, when I say I know penne alla vodka, I KNOW penne alla vodka. I am a penne alla vodka snob, there is a very limited amount of restaurants that stand a chance when I am around. I am telling you, I was BRED to know a really good vodka sauce. That is why I know for a fact mine is amazing. You will not be disappointed. Plus, can you believe this is a Weight Watchers' friendly penne alla vodka that is made in the Instant Pot! Cannot get much more simple, healthy, or delicious than that.
Quick Tips from Allie Carte
- Use any sausage, or don't use any at all
- A non-stick bowl insert makes for an easy clean up
What You Need for Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka and Sausage
You will, of course, want to grab your Instant Pot and your non-stick bowl insert. I love using a non-stick bowl insert as it helps the food not stick and makes for an easier clean up. However, you can use a regular insert, just be mindful of everything sticking. If you do not have an instant pot, try out my stovetop light vodka sauce.
Additionally, you need to use a wooden spatula / spoon with the Instant Pot as a plastic one will melt right off and a metal one will scratch the bowl.
Then, the ingredients may seem like a lot, but I promise it is very simple. We will not be using any vodka, as that is just all sugar, and we will not be using any heavy whipping cream. It is also not spicy, as some vodka sauces can be; however, we can make it spicy.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Minced garlic
- White onion
- Penne pasta
- Chicken broth
- Cream cheese
- Parmesan cheese
Substitutions and Suggestions for Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka
We can go over my suggestions and any substitutions.
This is just a normal, 14.5/15 ounce can of diced tomatoes. Make sure you are being conscious of the ingredients as we do not want any added sugar or anything as this is a skinny vodka sauce. Alternatively, grab some diced tomatoes and make sure to blend them into a liquid.
Penne alla vodka does call for penne pasta, that is a given. In all seriousness, the shape of pasta does not matter too much. Rigatoni and bowtie will cook the same, and I like using those shapes as well. However, be mindful of smaller shapes such as elbow as they will cook too quickly and turn into mush, that is gross.
Typically, I use chicken broth as that is what I always have on hand. Plus, I am using chicken sausage, so it complements the flavor. However, you can use another type of broth but be mindful as I use low sodium. Alternatively, use water but I do like using broth for added flavor.
Cream Cheese and Parmesan Cheese
This recipe will call for ⅓ less fat cream cheese and reduced fat parmesan cheese, as this is a skinny vodka sauce. In order to maximize the amount of penne alla vodka I am going to eat on weight watchers, I am saving some points on the cheeses. However, if you are not being conscious about all of that, or just do not want reduced fat, use a regular cream cheese and parmesan, it will be okay. I use the grated fake parmesan that comes in a jar in the pizza sauce aisle of the grocery store. Whoops, don't tell at me. Yes, I am Italian, seriously, like a quarter Italian, but I am using the fake parmesan cheese.
Instant Pot penne and sausage needs some sausage. I am using a semi-healthy sausage, Boar's Head robust Italian sausage. See, Italian, people! This is a chicken sausage, I love chicken. Plus, we are trying to keep it low point here. This is a barely slightly spicy sausage but it has such a good flavor that pairs very well with this recipe. However, you can use any sausage that you want, just be sure that it is not raw as we will not be cooking it in the Instant Pot. It needs to come already done. I have made this with pork sausage and it is delicious.
How to Make Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka
The instant pot goes quick, and I mean QUICK. You will want to make sure you have everything ready and prepared before you even think about turning on that Instant Pot.
Start by prepping the sausage and vegetables. Begin by slicing the sausage and dicing the onion. You may also want to prepare the seasonings to easily dump them in when the time is right.
Cooking Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka
Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and grease the bottom with some cooking spray. You can alternatively use oil or butter to grease the bowl as well.
When the pot heats up, add in the minced garlic and the diced onion. Sauté for about a minute or two, until the onion is slightly soft. You need to use a wooden spatula / spoon with the Instant Pot as a plastic one will melt right off and a metal one will scratch the bowl.
Turn the Instant Pot off, yes off.
Pour the broth into the bottom of the dish. The broth allows the Instant Pot to pressurize. Add in the pasta and press down slightly to make sure all, or most, of the pasta is covered in the broth. Pour the crushed tomatoes on top of the pasta. Add the seasonings and stir just a little, trying not to disturb, mess with, the pasta at the bottom. Then top with the sliced sausage. You can skip the sausage, if you prefer; however, this is an Instant Pot penne and sausage recipe and I love a sausage with some vodka sauce.
You can add in the cream cheese, cut up into pieces, and parmesan at this point. However, I just put it in after.
Cover the pot and secure the lid, make sure that the valve is set to sealing. Click the pressure cook button and pressure cook on normal for 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes is all it takes. Remember, the sausage does not need to cook, just the pasta.
When the timer is up, let the pot stand for 3 minutes before touching it. Once the three minutes are up, move the valve to venting. When the pot is de-pressurized, remove the lid.
Turn the Instant Pot back to the sauté setting. Add in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese, mixing until everything is melted and combined.
If you do not have an instant pot, try out my stovetop light vodka sauce. Looking for more of a lower point meal prep, try out my Instant Pot Penne Vodka Meal Prep. For more of a veggie packed dish, try my pepper alla vodka sauce, it has hidden bell peppers in it but tastes pretty similar to this. If you are looking for more of a spicy dish, try my spicy rigatoni alla vodka, but just to warn you, it is SPICY. For a super low point, extremely easy and vegetable packed dish, you need to try my very popular one point spaghetti squash alla vodka.
Gluten Free or Vegetarian?
Looking to make this a gluten free penne alla vodka or a vegetarian penne alla vodka. Well, there is technically no meat in the sauce, just the sausage that is placed on top. You can easily skip that step and just have extra sauce for the pasta.
As for a gluten free dish, substitute gluten free penne (I like Barilla) and cook it for an extra minute. Gluten free pasta takes a little longer to cook so set the pot to 6 minutes.
If you have leftovers, they will be good in the fridge for a couple days. Check the label of your sausage to see what they recommend. You can make the skinny vodka sauce and pour it over chicken as well, it makes a great meal prep.
Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka
A rich and creamy penne alla vodka sauce that is made in the instant pot, it cannot get any better than that. When I tell you I know a good vodka sauce, I KNOW a good vodka sauce, so I promise you, this stuff is GOOD!
Instant Pot Penne alla Vodka
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 14.5 ounces
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ⅛ cup diced white onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 6 ounces penne pasta dry
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 ounces ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon reduced fat parmesan cheese
- 1.5 links fully cooked links of sausage Boars Head chicken robust italian
- Begin by slicing the sausage and dicing the onion.
- Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and grease the bottom with some cooking spray.
- When the pot heats up, add in the minced garlic and the diced onion. Sauté for about a minute or two, until the onion is slightly soft.
- Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Pour the broth into the bottom of the dish. Add in the pasta and press down slightly to make sure all, or most, of the pasta is covered in the broth. Pour the crushed tomatoes on top of the pasta. Add the seasonings and stir just a little, trying not to disturb, mess with, the pasta at the bottom. Then top with the sliced sausage.
- Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the pressure cook button to 5 minutes and start it.
- When the timer is up, let the pot stand for 3 minutes before touching it. Once the three minutes are up, move the valve to venting. When the pot is de-pressurized, remove the lid.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to the sauté setting. Add in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese, mixing until everything is melted and combined.
Are you on Weight Watchers and looking for a points value for this penne alla vodka? Click this link and your points will automatically calculate for you. The serving size is a heaping cup and it is 7 points for me.