Penne rosa pasta is an easy pasta dish with a creamy sauce. You can make the whole penne rosa recipe in one pot. This quick and simple Italian pasta with tomato cream sauce is ideal for a busy weeknight supper. It’s tasty, comforting and filling. So if you want to make something creamy and satisfying, you can’t go wrong with this penne pasta recipe spicy tomato cream sauce.
Penne pasta pairs with fresh spinach leaves, tomatoes, mozzarella, and a delicious creamy tomato sauce. It’s a blend of savoury flavours which can be enjoyed as it is or paired with your favourite green salad. You will love this easy penne rosa pasta recipe!
Penne Rosa Pasta Ingredients
There are a few simple ingredients in a penne rosa sauce recipe are penne pasta, heavy cream and tomatoes. In addition, you need spinach (I like to use fresh baby spinach), garlic, bell pepper, onion, salt, black and red pepper, olive oil, bay leaves, parsley, and mozzarella. If you have some fresh basil, it is a nice optional addition, too.
How to Make Penne Rosa Pasta
The first thing to do is sauté the onion and bell pepper for several minutes in olive oil. Add the garlic as well as the red pepper flakes and sauté a little more.
Next, add the crushed roma tomatoes and bay leaves and cover the pot. Cook for several minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
Mix in the cream, spinach, salt, and pepper. Give the mixture about three minutes over the heat or until the spinach wilts.
Now stir in the cooked al dente penne pasta (cooked to package directions) and add the parsley and cheese. Serve the hot pasta with extra parmesan cheese and/or shredded cheese (parmesan is good) on top. This is a perfect dish and a nice rich dish with a little kick (which is the best part).
More on this Pasta Rosa
The dish gets its name from penne, the shape of the pasta used, and ‘rosa’ which is Italian for pink, the colour you get when you combine the cream and the tomatoes.
Did you know that penne pasta is named after an actual pen? That’s because the cylindrical shape of the pasta with angled edges was inspired by the shape of a quill.
Variations, Substitutions and Add-Ins
You can change the veggies in your penne rosa recipe if you want. In fact, add some mushrooms to make it into a Noodles & Company copycat penne rosa pasta recipe.
Add some protein in the form of grilled shrimp or chicken if you like, or swap another leafy green for the spinach. Crumbled bacon would also be good.
At Noodles & Co. restaurants, this dish can be made with rice noodles or zucchini noodles, so feel free to try an alternative to the penne if you wish. Make a big pot of this copycat recipe that is just like the restaurant version.
Customers often order parmesan-crusted chicken to go with this dish, and marinated steak or oven-roasted meatballs are a pretty popular pairing there too.
This is one of my favourite pasta sauces ever and it is a great change from marinara sauce, red sauce, spagetti sauce or alfredo sauce. If you want a lighter version, use milk or Half & Half instead of heavy cream. This won’t be as rich and creamy but it will be lighter in calories and fat, so it depends how you want your easy pasta dish to come out.
This baked feta pasta recipe is also really good and is an Italian/Greek fusion dish.
Penne Rosa Recipe FAQs
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 4 days. I like to mix in a little broth or water before reheating in the microwave.
Penne rosa pasta is a meal in itself with its delectable creamy sauce, pasta and healthy veggies. You can serve it as a vegetarian dinner or with your favorite protein, perhaps parmesan crusted chicken or grilled steak, to make it more of a side dish.
If you prefer to serve it with a side, anything from corn on the cob to a simple Italian salad or even a side of garlic bread or garlic cheese twists if you don’t mind the extra carbs! Don’t forget the parmesan cheese!
Absolutely! Try pasta spirals, rigatoni or any pasta shapes you have in the cupboard. You could even use spaghetti or linguine instead of the penne noodles.
Or how about zucchini pasta or butternut squash pasta? To make those you just need to spiralize the vegetables with a spiralizer. And if you have another favourite pasta sauce, you can use elements of that in here too.
Italian Penne Rosa Pasta Recipe
Italian Penne Rosa Pasta
- 1 Pound penne pasta penne, cooked
- 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 Cups spinach
- 3 Cloves garlic
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion small
- 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Can crushed tomatoes 28 ounce
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 Sprigs parsley for garnish
- 1 Cup mozzarella cheese
- In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and bell pepper.Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes. Saute for an additional minute
- Add crushed tomatoes and bay leaves to the pot, mix well then cover. Let simmer over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes
- Remove bay leaves. Add heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper, spinach. Mix well and cover, allow spinach to cook down, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in cooked penne. Add mozzarella cheese and parsley. Stir well, remove from heat. Garnish with fresh parsley or parmesan.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Penne rosa pasta is a simple, one pot recipe you can rustle up quickly and easily. Boasting my favourite pasta sauce as well as plenty of veggies, this is a comfort food style dish just as good (or better!) than you’d get at your local Italian restaurant. Try this amazing pasta recipe with rich, creamy sauce – you will love it! This quick pasta recipe is a perfect go-to recipe and will become a family favorite.
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.