Tomato sauce gets an upgrade with heavy cream and parmesan! This pink sauce pasta is decadent, rich, and oh-so-delicious. Serve it with your favorite type of pasta and plenty of parmesan cheese!
Pink pasta sauce is essentially a tomato cream sauce with parmesan! It's cozy and rich, but not overly so, and it tastes amazing with any style of pasta. I used penne pasta, but you could use rigatoni, ziti, fusilli, farfalle, or tortellini.
It's satisfying, creamy, and a cinch to make!
Why you will love it
- A mashup of marinara and alfredo sauce!
- It's decadent, rich, and cozy.
- Pink sauce pasta is ready in 35 minutes.
- It's easy to make and customize!
Olive oil - Heart-healthy olive oil adds a robust flavor and cooks the aromatics. If you don't have olive oil, swap with butter, ghee, or avocado oil.
Onion & garlic - Use whatever type of onion is on sale, or you already have on the counter. I used a white onion, but sweet or yellow onions work great too! I use a garlic press to mince my garlic, but you can also purchase a jar of pre-minced garlic in the produce section.
Tomatoes - I used whole peeled tomatoes because they're less processed with a more complex flavor than crushed or diced tomatoes. My favorite brand is Muir Glen, but any brand will do. If you only have diced tomatoes in the pantry, don't sweat it. This recipe should work fine with them too.
Roasted red peppers - For a touch of sweet and smoky flavor! I always keep a jar of roasted red peppers in my pantry now. They add quick flavor to sauces, sandwiches, and dips.
Seasoning - Italian seasoning gives you that quintessential marinara taste. A little bit of sugar tames the acidity of the tomatoes, and kosher salt adds flavor.
Fresh basil - Fresh basil has a spicy yet sweet aroma. We grow it in our garden so we always have it on hand. If you don't have it or can't find it, simply leave it out.
Tomato paste - Tomato paste is just concentrated tomatoes without the seeds or skins. It acts as a quick thickener for everything from sauces to stews. Another pantry item worth keeping on hand. When they go BOGO, I buy several.
Cream - Heavy cream makes this pink sauce top notch! If you prefer a lighter sauce, you can swap it with half and half, but the sauce won't be as flavorful.
Parmesan - For the sauce and for topping! Parmesan has a nutty, salty flavor. You can purchase a block of it and shave it fresh, or just buy shaved parmesan in a container. Both work great!
How to Make Pink Pasta
Pink sauce pasta is simple to make. Here's step-by-step instructions with photos to guide you through it.
Sauté aromatics: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, then cook until softened - about 3 minutes. Stir so the onion and garlic doesn't burn.
Add tomatoes: Add the tomatoes and diced red peppers to the skillet. Use a spatula to carefully break up the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
Add seasoning: Add the Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and fresh basil leaves. Stir the mixture and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn.
Blend tomato sauce: Carefully transfer the tomato sauce to a blender. It's hot so you don't want it to splatter on you. I used a ladle with no spills or mess. Blend well until the mixture looks mostly smooth.
Add cream & parmesan: Pour the tomato sauce back into the same skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste, heavy cream, and shaved parmesan. Stir until well incorporated and hot. Remove from the heat and add the cooked pasta.
Stir & enjoy: Stir the pasta into the pink tomato sauce and top with more parmesan! Enjoy!
- Don't skip the simmer! Simmering is a crucial step for any tomato sauce worth its salt. It reduces the liquid, intensifies the sweetness of the tomatoes, and marries all the flavors together.
- It's okay to work with what you have on hand. This recipe is pretty forgiving. If you don't have whole tomatoes, use what you do have (diced, crushed, sauce). If you don't have roasted red peppers, it's okay to leave them out. The recipe won't taste exactly the same but it will still be delicious!
- Be careful when you transfer the hot tomato sauce to the blender. Don't haphazardly pour it into the blender without taking your time. Otherwise the pink sauce will splatter, burn you, and make a mess! I used a ladle and it took me less than a minute.
Store leftover pasta with pink sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reheat in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 30-second increments until hot throughout. Top with more parmesan and enjoy!
Serving Ideas & Variations
Customize this pink pasta recipe any way you please!
- Add meat: Stir in cooked ground beef, turkey, chicken, or sausage for added bulk and protein! Or you can stir in sliced grilled chicken or even shrimp!
- Add veggies: Stir in leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, or lacinto kale.
- Add heat: Stir in red pepper flakes for a slight kick.
- Switch up the pasta: Use any type of pasta you wish! For a more filling option, use cheese or meat tortellini.
- Gluten-Free: This recipe can easily be made gluten-free! Just swap the cooked pasta with cooked gluten-free pasta! Barilla and Ronzoni both have good gluten-free options. Just be careful not to overcook it. Gluten-free pasta turns to mush if it's overcooked.
Pasta pink sauce is a mashup of marinara sauce and alfredo sauce. Together they make a rich and creamy pasta sauce that has a slightly pink hue. Most pink sauces contain tomatoes, cream, and parmesan along with aromatics and seasonings.
Cozy Easy Dinner Ideas
- One Pan Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Easy Gluten Free Meatballs
- Butternut Squash Lasagna - No Noodles & Gluten Free
- Easy Homestyle Chili
- Cowboy Soup
Pink Sauce Pasta
- 3-qt stainless steel sauté pan
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- ½ cup diced roasted red peppers
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan plus more for topping
- 8 ounces cooked penne pasta or pasta of choice
- In a large stainless steel sauté pan with tall sides, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant - about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with the juice and the chopped peppers. Use a spatula to gently crush the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Italian seasoning, sugar, basil, and salt to the mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn.
- Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce back into the same pan over medium heat. Add the tomato paste, heavy cream, and parmesan. Stir until incorporated then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, then top with more parmesan, and enjoy!