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Pink Sauce Pasta

This Pink Sauce Pasta has savory pasta smothered in a creamy tomato sauce with Parmesan, mozzarella, flavor enhancers, and seasonings! It’s an easy 30-minute meal that your family will love. (Perfect for picky eaters!)

A skillet filled with Pink Sauce Pasta with a wooden spoon.

Pink Sauce Pasta

This Pink Sauce Pasta is a huge hit with picky eaters, (in child or adult form. 😁) It’s simple, but also super flavorful.

It starts with butter, garlic, and tomato paste which creates a flavorful base. From there, we add tomato sauce and chicken broth/bouillon, which adds even more flavor. Half and half (half milk/half cream), turns that beautiful red sauce into a classic pink sauce.

Honey adds a sweet offset to the acidity from the tomatoes, and mustard powder and hot sauce act as flavor enhancers. (The hot sauce won’t make the finished product spicy.)

The seasonings include basil, oregano, onion powder, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

And finally, the cheese. Parmesan and mozzarella make a beautiful addition to the end, along with savory pasta! (Penne, ziti, and rigatoni are all great options for this recipe.)

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Melt butter and garlic in a skillet. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add a combined mixture of half and half, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, honey, hot sauce, and seasonings.

Making Pink sauce in a skillet with butter, garlic, tomato paste, and a cream sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Boil pasta to al dente. Stir in the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese until combined. 

Adding cheese to a creamy pink sauce in a skillet.

Add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Serve with garlic bread with cheese! (Baked Meatballs make a great side as well!)

Adding Penne to Pink Sauce and stirring to combine.

Pro Tips

  • Tomato Sauce: I use Hunt’s tomato sauce in this recipe, tomato passata can also be used.
  • Tomato Paste: I use tomato paste tubes to measure smaller amounts, you can store the tubes in the fridge for zero waste!
  • Cheese: I use Belgioioso Parmesan and Dragone Mozzarella. Low moisture/whole milk mozzarella will melt best in this.
  • Grate the cheese from a block as it will melt much better than packaged grated cheese. 
  • Make sure the base isn’t too hot when you add the cheese, otherwise the dairy can separate and create a grainy consistency.
  • Hot Sauce, Mustard Powder, and Honey are flavor enhancers in this sauce that you can’t taste outright. I use Frank’s hot sauce and it won’t make it spicy.
  • Optional additions include: Diced tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and spinach!
  • Baked Meatballs are a great side dish with this meal.
  • Vegetable broth can be used instead of chicken broth to make this meatless.
  • Pasta: Penne, Ziti, Rigatoni, and even linguine are all great pasta options for this.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. This does reheat well.
  • Reheating this pasta in a makeshift double boiler on the stove top is the best way to restore it to its original form. 
  • Another reheating tip: I like to reserve and store some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup), and add small splashes of it to the pasta while it reheats, it helps “loosen” up the noodles/sauce and restores it back to its original consistency. You don’t have to use the entire reserved amount.

Pink Sauce Pasta on a white plate with grated Parmesan on top.

 

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Pink Sauce Pasta in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Pink Sauce Pasta

5 from 1 rating
This Pink Sauce Pasta has penne smothered in a creamy tomato sauce with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese! This easy 30 minute meal will be a HUGE favorite in your house!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup half and half, (half milk/half cream)
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ lb. penne, ziti/rigatoni also work well
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water

Seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Combine the tomato sauce, half and half, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, honey, hot sauce, and seasonings and set aside. Measure out additional ingredients before beginning.
  • Begin boiling salted pasta water for the pasta. Once a boil is reached, cook to al dente according to package instructions. (Set a timer to avoid overcooking.) Drain once cooked and reserve ½ cup pasta water. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the combined tomato sauce mixture in splashes, stirring continuously. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer gently, uncovered, while the pasta cooks.
  • Gradually sprinkle in the Parmesan and mozzarella cheese until combined.
  • Add the drained pasta and stir to combine. Add a splash of pasta water if you prefer to thin out the sauce slightly. Excess pasta water can be helpful for reheating leftovers as well (see notes).

Notes

Pro Tips
  • Grate the cheese from a block as it will melt much better than packaged grated cheese. 
  • Make sure the base isn't too hot when you add the cheese, otherwise the dairy can separate and create a grainy consistency.
  • Hot Sauce, Mustard Powder, and Honey are flavor enhancers in this sauce that you can't taste outright.
  • Tomato Paste: I use tomato paste tubes to measure smaller amounts, you can store the tubes in the fridge for zero waste!
  • See Pro Tips section in the blog post for the brands of tomato sauce, cheese, and hot sauce that I use for this recipe.
  • Optional additions include: Diced tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and spinach!
  • Baked Meatballs are a great side dish with this meal.
  • Vegetable broth can be used instead of chicken broth to make this meatless.

Storage
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. This does reheat well.

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving. There are 4 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 829mg, Potassium: 516mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1053IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 283mg, Iron: 2mg
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5 comments on “Pink Sauce Pasta”

  1. In my previous post I forgot to ask when substituting bouillon with Better Than Bouillon, do I substitute 1 tbsp for 1 cube? I’m New at posting as I have never posted before. Thanks

  2. I have made so many of your recipes that my family love, thanks for sharing. I will try this recipe but would like to substitute the bouillon with the Better Than Bouillon as I have been using it since it was in one of your previous recipes. It blends easily and not as salty in my opinion.

  3. This Pink Sauce Pasta recipe was quick, easy, and so delicious!!! I was a little skeptical about it due to the name…”Pink Sauce?” But…it was so creamy and so tasty and my kids ate it right up!!! I used rigatoni pasta as you suggested and added some spinach as well. After looking at it, I understand why it is called Pink Sauce Pasta! My youngest asked me if we can have it again this week. I have a feeling this will be part of my regular rotation. Thank you!

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