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Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe (15 min)

Need some inspiration for your pasta and tomato sauce? Bump it up a notch with this mellow, decadent pink sauce pasta recipe. Just a simple creamy tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic, Parmesan, fresh basil (and a splash of spirits if you like).

I like to serve it over ravioli – or any pasta for that matter – but there are lots of other options.

finished sauce and ravioli on plate

What is pink sauce?

Pink sauce is a sauce that is pink 🙂 Actually, it’s more peachy or orangey in color. It depends on the ratio of tomato sauce to cream you use. More cream, more pink. 

The core of the sauce is tomato sauce and cream – or a blend of marinara and alfredo sauces. A few other ingredients are added to give the sauce some complexity and depth. But in its simplest form, you can just add cream to any tomato sauce. 

Other names for pink sauce

Many countries have a version of pink sauce. You may have heard of:

  • vodka sauce, a popular Italian-American version
  • sugo rosa from Italy
  • rosé sauce from France
  • blush sauce, and
  • salsa rosa or salsa rosada from Spain and Columbia. 

How to make a pink sauce pasta recipe

ravioli, onion, tomato sauce, basil, butter, seasonings, garlic, bouillon, cream, parmesan
Ingredients: ravioli (or any pasta), Passata (tomato puree), basil, bouillon powder, garlic, seasonings, butter/olive oil, onions, cream, Parmesan.
cooked ravioli in strainer
Boil pasta and drain. Set aside.
sauteed onions, garlic seasoning in pan
Gently saute onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and bouillon powder until onions are very soft.
sauce ingredients in pan
Add cream, Parmesan and most of basil leaves (leave a few for garnish). Stir to combine.
finished sauce in pan
Cook for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
finished sauce and ravioli in pan
Combine cooked pasta with sauce and heat through. Garnish with additional basil and Parmesan if you like.
finished sauce and ravioli in pan p2

How to serve pink sauce

Serve it as a main dish with any kind of pasta, plain or filled with meat, veggies or cheese in the case of ravioli or tortellini. I combined it with lobster ravioli a few weeks ago – yum. A nice warm crusty bread and salad with a glass of wine rounds out the meal perfectly.

The pink sauce pasta recipe also makes an easy side dish for crispy baked fish, simple herb roasted salmon, slow roasted salmon with gremolata, cedar plank grilled whole chicken or marinated pork chops.

Or try serving the sauce over chicken, sausage, shrimp or even as a pizza sauce. Here’s a Margherita pizza with vodka tomato sauce recipe from Food Network.

Tailor To Your Taste

Here are several variations and ingredient substitutes you can use.

  1. Pasta: Any pasta will work e.g. ravioli, tortellini, spaghetti, ziti, penne pasta, farfelle, gnocchi, linguine, rigatoni, angel hair pasta, etc. 
  2. Sherry: Substitute fortified wine, white wine or vodka
  3. Bouillon powder: if you don’t have any, leave it out and adjust with salt, pepper, more basil and garlic to your taste. 
  4. Passata/tomato puree: Passata is simply pureed tomatoes with a touch of salt. Substitute it with a good basic tomato sauce (e.g White Linen marinara from Costco). If you don’t have tomato sauce, you can use canned tomatoes without the juice, but you will have to cook them down for about 10 minutes before adding the cream. 
  5. Cream: Substitute half and half with heavy cream (for a more decadent rich sauce) or with any milk (for a lower calorie/fat option).
  6. Fresh basil: Substitute 1-2 tsp dried basil or Italian seasoning. Or use other fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano. 

Make ahead

  • The sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to serve, heat on stove and add freshly cooked pasta. 
  • Leftovers can be warmed, covered, in the microwave. Add 1-2 tbsp of milk or water to loosen up the pasta if needed.

Other vegetarian pasta recipes to check out

finished sauce and ravioli on plate
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Rate this recipe here

5 from 4 votes

Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: French, Italian, Italian-American, Spanish
Servings: 2
Author: Cheryl, Two Kooks In The Kitchen

Ingredients

  • recipe can be doubled or tripled in a larger pan

Pasta

  • 150 g (5 oz) pasta or ravioli, Note 1 I use about 225g for filled ravioli
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil, extra Parmesan cheese

Pink Sauce

  • see Note 2 for substitutions
  • 2 tbsp butter (or 1 tbsp butter +1 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup (26g) finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sherry, fortified wine, white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp bouillon powder (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Passata (tomato puree) NOT tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) half and half cream (10%)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or more or less to taste
  • 1/4 cup (11g) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • BOIL PASTA: in salted water as per package directions, cooking a minute less (it will finish cooking in sauce). Drain and set aside.
  • MAKE PINK SAUCE: While pasta is boiling, make the sauce. Heat butter (or butter/olive oil) to medium heat in a medium pan. If doubling the recipe, use a large pan. Add onions, garlic, slat, pepper and bouillon powder (and red pepper flakes if using). Gently simmer for 4-5 minutes until onions are very soft. Add sherry, if using, and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, cream, Parmesan and most of the basil. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, chili flakes, Parmesan or basil as desired.
  • ASSEMBLE: Add cooked pasta to sauce. Toss to combine well with sauce and heat through for 1-2 minutes. Serve, garnished with additional chopped basil and Parmesan cheese if you like.

Notes

  1. Pasta: instead of ravioli, try tortellini, spaghetti, ziti, penne pasta, farfelle, gnocchi, linguine, rigatoni, angel hair pasta, etc. 
  2. Substitutions/variations for pink sauce
    1. Sherry: instead, use fortified wine, white wine or vodka
    2. Bouillon powder: if you don’t have any, leave it out and adjust with salt, pepper, more basil and garlic to your taste. 
    3. Passata/tomato puree: Passata is simply pureed tomatoes with a touch of salt. Substitute it with a good basic tomato sauce (e.g White Linen marinara from Costco). If you don’t have sauce, you can use canned tomatoes without the juice, but you will have to cook them down for about 10 minutes before adding the cream to make a sauce. 
    4. Cream: substitute heavy cream (for a more decadent rich sauce) or any milk (for a lower calorie/fat option).
    5. Fresh basil: Substitute 1-2 tsp dried basil or Italian seasoning. Or other fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano. 
  3. Add-ins: For a more substantial meal, feel free to add cooked Italian sausage, chicken, shrimp, tofu or crumbled bacon. 
  4. Make Ahead:
    • The sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to serve, heat on stove and add freshly cooked pasta. 
    • Leftovers can be warmed, covered, in the microwave. Add 1-2 tbsp of milk or water to loosen up the pasta if needed.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include the optional sherry, red pepper flakes or garnish. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 556 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 64mg21%
Sodium 1051mg46%
Potassium 618mg18%
Carbohydrates 69g23%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 1151IU23%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 252mg25%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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