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finished sauce and ravioli on plate
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4.85 from 13 votes

Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe

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).
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: French, Italian, Italian-American, Spanish
Servings (change as needed): 2
Author: Cheryl


  • recipe can be doubled or tripled in a larger pan


  • 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 tablespoon butter (or 1 tbsp butter +1 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup (26g) finely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon sherry, fortified wine, white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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


  • 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, salt, pepper and bouillon powder (and red pepper flakes if using). Gently sauté 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 on top of the pasta if you like.


  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 sauce from Costco) or traditional marinara sauce. If you don't have a red 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. 
    6. Pasta Water: If you need to thicken the sauce more, save and add a little pasta water which has starch from the pasta.
  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 in a large pot and add freshly cooked pasta. 
    • Leftovers can be warmed, covered, in the microwave. Add 1-2 tablespoon 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. 
Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1051mg | Potassium: 618mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1151IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 2mg