This easy Pink Sauce Pasta recipe is creamy, comforting, and full of flavor. It’s inspired by our favorite from Mama D’s restaurant in Newport, CA, and it’s so easy to make from home.
Why I love this recipe:
- Flavor – If the best alfredo sauce married your favorite marinara sauce, this would be their baby! This recipe is inspired by the incredible pink sauce pasta from Mama D’s in Newport, CA.
- Easy – Restaurant quality, but you can make it at home so easily.
- Pantry Ingredients – No unusual or special ingredients; you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen!
How to make Pink Sauce Pasta:
Sauté Shallot: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Toss in the garlic and dry spices and cook for 1 minute. Add white wine to deglaze pan (if using).
Add Tomatoes: Use (clean) hands to crush the whole tomatoes right into the pot, and add the rest of the juice from the can. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
Purée Sauce: Use a blender or hand immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth. Return to pot over low heat.
Add Cream and Cheese: Stir in the heavy cream until combined. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Taste and add additional seasonings if needed.
Serve: Add cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add some pasta water as needed, to thin the sauce. Serve pink sauce pasta garnished with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese.
Pink Sauce vs Vodka Sauce:
Although Pink Sauce and Vodka Sauce are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually different sauces. Pink Sauce doesn’t have any vodka in the sauce and is more cream based while Vodka Pasta is more tomato based. While they are both made from some of the same ingredients, I hope you take the time to try them both and choose your favorite!
- Pasta: any bite-size pasta will work, like penne, farfalle or fusilli.
- Cheese: Use high-quality fresh parmesan (not pre-shredded). Grate it, and allow it to come to room temperature so it will melt really smoothly.
- Protein: You can add cooked chicken, shrimp, or tofu if you’d like.
Make Ahead Instructions: Make the sauce ahead of time, but store the sauce and cooked pasta separately in the fridge. Add the sauce to a saucepan to rewarm and then stir in the pasta.
Freezing instructions: For best results, make the sauce just until adding the cream, cheese and pasta. Allow the sauce to cool and then freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then warm in saucepan, add cream, cooked pasta, and cheese. You may freeze the fully assembled dish, the sauce may have a slightly different texture due to the cream, upon reheating, and the noodles will soak up more of the sauce, making it less “saucy”.
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Pink Sauce Pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon butter
- 6 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 shallot , finely diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine , optional
- 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes , San Marzano brand
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese*
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves , chopped, for serving
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and oil and once better has melted, add shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and dry spices and cook for 1 minute.
- Optional: add white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Use (clean) hands to crush the whole tomatoes right into the pot, and add the rest of the juice from the can. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
- Cook rigatoni in salted boiling water, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain cooked pasta (don’t rinse).
- Use a blender or hand immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth. Return to pot over low heat.
- Stir in the heavy cream until combined. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Taste and add additional seasonings if needed.
- Add cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add some pasta water as needed, to thin the sauce.
- Serve garnished with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese.
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