Penne Rosa is a classic Italian staple dish with penne pasta in a creamy, pink pasta sauce. It's simple to prepare, combining the richness of cream with the freshness of tomatoes, making it a hit with both adults and children. This dish is an ideal choice for a quick, satisfying meal that pleases the whole family. It's the perfect dish for a busy weeknight dinner.
Penne Rosa is a delightful pasta dish that shares similarities with some of the more trendy pasta recipes, like the famous Gigi Hadid pasta and the classic Vodka pasta. These dishes have gained popularity for their rich, creamy sauces and indulgent flavors, often featured in social media and gourmet cooking channels. While Gigi Hadid pasta is known for its spicy, creamy tomato sauce and vodka pasta for its unique use of vodka to enhance the tomato flavors, Penne Rosa stands out for its simplicity and approachability. It captures the essence of these popular dishes but in a more straightforward, easy-to-make manner that it's typical of an authentic Italian recipe, making it perfect for quick dinners or for those who are new to cooking.
Despite its simplicity, Penne Rosa does not compromise on taste. This recipe swaps out the complexities and specific ingredients of the Gigi Hadid pasta and vodka pasta for more accessible, yet equally flavorful components. The result is a creamy, pink sauce that beautifully coats the penne pasta, offering a comforting and satisfying meal. It's a dish that proves you don't need elaborate methods or hard-to-find ingredients to create a delicious pasta meal. Penne Rosa is perfect for those evenings when you crave something indulgent yet uncomplicated, bringing a touch of gourmet to your dinner table without the fuss. It's my kind of perfect and simple comfort food.
To make a delicious Penne Rosa sauce, you will need a few key ingredients. You'll notice this is a much simpler version compared to the other recipes online. This is the recipe I grew up with and I love the simplicity of it, making the simple ingredients shine.
- Pasta: The foundation of the dish, pasta provides a satisfying texture and serves as the perfect canvas for the sauce. Penne is typically used for its ability to hold sauce well, but other pasta shapes can also be used depending on preference.
- Tomato Passata: A smooth, uncooked tomato puree that forms the base of the sauce. Passata has a rich tomato flavor and a velvety texture, which contributes to the sauce's body and depth without the chunks present in crushed tomatoes. You can also use marinara sauce, but it will change the flavor of the sauce.
- Cream: Added to the tomato passata to create the signature pink color of the sauce. The cream brings a rich, velvety texture and mellows the acidity of the tomatoes, resulting in a smooth and indulgent sauce. You can use heavy cream or half and half.
- Garlic: A key aromatic that adds depth and a subtle pungency to the sauce. Garlic is typically minced or finely chopped to distribute its flavor evenly throughout the dish.
- Onion: Use white or yellow onion for a milder flavor. Onions are sautéed at the beginning of the cooking process, providing a sweet and savory foundation to the sauce. They add a layer of flavor to the sauce.
See the recipe card for full quantities.
Penne Rosa is a delicious and easy pasta dish that is loved by many. It is a perfect combination of spicy tomato cream sauce and penne pasta. If you are looking to switch things up, here are a few variations you can try:
- Spicy: To add a little kick to the Penne Rosa, incorporate spicy elements like red pepper flakes, diced jalapeños, or a dash of hot sauce. These ingredients can be adjusted according to your heat preference, and they blend seamlessly into the creamy tomato sauce, adding an exciting twist to the dish.
- Gluten-Free: Make this dish gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta. Many options are available, including those made from rice, corn, or legume flours. These alternatives ensure that the dish remains just as satisfying without the gluten.
- Dairy-Free: For a dairy-free version, substitute the cream with a plant-based alternative like coconut cream or a dairy-free cream substitute. These alternatives offer a similar richness and creaminess, making the dish suitable for those with dairy sensitivities or on a vegan diet.
- Cheesier: To make the dish cheesier, you can add cream cheese, grated Parmesan, mozzarella, or a blend of your favorite cheeses into the sauce. The cheese melts into the sauce, giving it an extra creamy and indulgent texture, perfect for cheese lovers.
- With Veggies: Boost the nutritional value and add extra flavor to your Penne Rosa by including vegetables like fresh spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini. These can be sautéed and mixed into the sauce, making the dish more wholesome and flavorful. They will make a more complete vegetarian dinner.
- With Meat: For a heartier meal, incorporate your favorite protein like chicken breasts, shrimp, or Italian sausage. These can be cooked and added to the sauce, providing a savory depth and making the dish more substantial and satisfying.
📋 Instructions with Photos
It's super easy to make Penne Rosa, in a few simple steps.
Step 1. In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil and sautè the minced onion and garlic on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
Step 2. Add the tomato passata to the pan and let it simmer at low heat for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile toss the penne noodles in a large pot of salted water. Follow the package directions for cooking time.
Step 3. Add the cream to the sauce, and if you want a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to reach the desired texture. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 4. Drain the al dente pasta and add it to the sauce. Serve immediately as is, or add some grated Parmesan cheese or fresh basil on top.
To make a delicious Penne Rosa, you will need a few essential kitchen tools. Here is a list of the equipment you will need:
- Large cooking pot: A large cooking pot is essential for boiling the penne pasta. Make sure the pot is big enough to hold the pasta and enough water to cover it. A 6-quart pot should be sufficient for most recipes.
- Large pan or skillet: A large pan or skillet is necessary for sautéing the garlic and onions and cooking the sauce. A 12-inch skillet should be enough for most recipes.
- Immersion Blender: An immersion blender will turn this into a smooth and creamy sauce. It's not necessary, but it adds a nice touch!
❄️ Storage & Reheating
When it comes to storing and reheating this Pasta with Pink Sauce, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your leftovers are just as delicious as the day you made them.
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure to let the Penne Rosa cool completely before storing it in the fridge. This will help prevent any bacteria growth.
If you have more leftovers than you can eat in 5 days, you can freeze them for later. To freeze Penne Rosa, let it cool completely and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Make sure to label the container or bag with the date and contents. Penne Rosa can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat Penne Rosa, you can use a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but make sure to stir it every 30 seconds to prevent it from drying out. If the Penne Rosa seems dry, you can add a splash of milk or cream to help loosen it up.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Yes, Penne Rosa can be made dairy-free by using non-dairy milk and omitting the Parmesan cheese. You can use almond milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk of your choice. Simply replace the milk in the recipe with the non-dairy milk and leave out the Parmesan cheese. You can also use nutritional yeast as a dairy-free substitute for Parmesan cheese.
To make a spicy Penne Rosa, you can add crushed red pepper flakes or chili flakes to the recipe. Start with a small amount and adjust to your desired level of spiciness. You can also add diced jalapeños or other hot peppers for extra heat. If you prefer a milder spice level, you can omit the red pepper flakes or use less.
Yes, you can make Penne Rosa in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply heat it up in a skillet or microwave until heated through. You may need to add a splash of milk to the sauce to loosen it up after refrigeration. However, keep in mind that the pasta may become slightly softer after refrigeration, so it's best to cook the pasta al dente if you plan to store it in advance.
⭐ Top tip
For the best flavor and consistency in your Penne Rosa, let the sauce simmer gently after adding the cream. This step allows the flavors to meld beautifully and the sauce to thicken slightly, ensuring each bite of pasta is perfectly coated.
In conclusion, Penne Rosa is a versatile dish that has become a family favorite due to its simple yet delicious nature. It's an ideal choice for a cozy date night or a comforting family dinner, embodying the essence of simple Italian pasta with its rich and flavorful tomato cream sauce. Whether you're looking for a quick weeknight meal or something special to impress, this Pasta Rosa recipe is sure to delight with its perfect balance of simplicity and taste.
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Penne Rosa (Pink Pasta Sauce)
- 6.5 oz Penne Pasta
- 15 oz Tomato Passata
- ⅔ cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Yellow Onion, minced
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese, optional
- In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil and sautè the minced onion and garlic on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the tomato passata to the skillet and let it simmer at low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the penne noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water. Follow the package directions for cooking time.
- Add the cream to the sauce, and if you want a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to get the desired texture. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Drain the al dente pasta and add it to the sauce. Serve immediately as is, or add some grated Parmesan cheese or fresh basil on top.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.