Is there anything more comforting in this world than a big bowl of pasta? No there is not. And this easy blush sauce recipe for pasta delivers the ultimate in cozy comfort.
This creamy pink sauce pasta recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight but special enough for weekend meals.
It’s the perfect recipe for when you can’t decide between a tomato-based sauce like marinara sauce and a thick, creamy sauce like alfredo sauce.
It’s the best of both worlds, making it our family’s favorite pasta of all time!
Is blush sauce the same as vodka sauce?
Blush sauce (sometimes called rose sauce) and vodka sauce both have a similar pink color and use tomatoes and cream as their primary ingredients.
But blush sauce does not contain any vodka. Instead of vodka, a blush sauce recipe is made with dry white wine.
The purpose of alcohol in both a vodka sauce recipe and a blush sauce recipe is to emulsify, or blend, the acidic ingredients with the cream.
Alcohol in a recipe works to create a smooth, silky sauce where the tomatoes and cream don’t repel each other and separate.
What’s in this Pasta with Creamy Blush Sauce
We’ve got very simple ingredients in this creamy tomato sauce, and an even simpler process. We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, here’s what you’ll need:
- Tomato Paste. It comes in tiny cans because most recipes call for very little of it. Why? Because tomato paste is super concentrated. It’s amazing for adding rich, deep tomato flavor without any watery texture.
- Heavy Cream
- Half and Half. I’ve tested this recipe using a combination of heavy cream and whole milk. It doesn’t quite work. I have found that the best consistency comes from using half-and-half. But also, see the recipe notes for modifications.
- Dry White Wine. Look for a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. Something light and crisp.
- Onions. I like sweet onions for pasta sauces like this one. One large yellow onion or Vidalia onion is right choice.
- Fresh Garlic
- Fennel. This adds a really cool dimension to this delicious pasta sauce that vodka sauce simply doesn’t have. I like to crush up whole fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle in order to release the full force of its flavor. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can pulse the seeds in a food processor until they are ground up.
How to make Pasta with Creamy Blush Sauce
It takes no time to whip up this easy tomato cream sauce, making it just as perfect for busy weeknights as it is for lazy weekends. One pot is all you need!
Cook the pasta in a large pot and drain it. Then make your sauce in the same pot before adding the pasta back in.
Start by sauteing the onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Then add the fennel. It should be smelling amazing by now.
Pour in the wine, cream, half-and-half and tomato paste and let it thicken for a few minutes. Then just add the pasta back in.
See the recipe card below for full instructions.
What’s the best pasta to use for this pink sauce recipe?
Classic dishes like Fettucini Alfredo use flat fettucini to sop up that creamy sauce, while Penne Vodka uses a shorter, tubular pasta shape so the sauce gets into all the little crannies. Any of these are great options.
Delicate shapes like angel hair pasta won’t hold up against the thick sauce.
Choose a type of pasta that you enjoy, and have fun experimenting with different shapes!
A few things to remember when you make this pink pasta sauce recipe:
- This recipe finishes with a little bit of heat from crushed red pepper. You wouldn’t believe how much heat you get from just a quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper! If you prefer less heat, use only 1/8 of a teaspoon, or you can leave it out completely.
- You can use all heavy cream or all half-and-half in this recipe. If you use all heavy cream, use reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce to your liking. If you use all half-and-half, be sure to simmer the sauce 10-15 minutes longer to allow it to thicken.
- When choosing a white wine for this delicate tomato-cream sauce, go for a dry variety like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Avoid wines like Riesling and Viognier.
How to Store this Pasta with Blush Sauce
If you have any leftover pasta, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat in a large skillet with a little pasta water to loosen up the sauce.
Enjoy a glass of white wine out of the bottle you’re using for this recipe and before you know it you’ll be ready to eat. We love to enjoy this meal with a simple salad and a loaf of crusty garlic bread.
I hope you’ll try this pasta with creamy blush sauce the next time you need a cozy warm-up. And let me know how it goes! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more pasta recipes, try these:
- Pasta alla Vodka with Sweet Peas and Bacon
- Pumpkin Cheddar Lager Mac and Cheese
- Chicken & Tomato Pappardelle
Easy Creamy Blush Sauce (Pink Pasta Sauce Recipe)
- 1 lb. short-cut pasta
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small yellow onions diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds crushed or pulsed in a food processor
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Cook pasta al dente. Drain. Return the pasta pot to the stove and add the olive oil, onions and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the fennel, salt, pepper and red pepper. Continue to cook until fragrant, about 3 more minutes.
- Increase the heat to high heat and add the white wine, scraping up the browned bits in the pan. Whisk in the cream, half-and-half and tomato paste. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cooked pasta back into the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley, cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese, if desired.