Pink pasta is a delightful dish that satisfies with its creamy, flavourful sauce and simple preparation. The combination of tender pasta, rich tomato-infused cream, and savoury parmesan cheese creates a dish that is both delicious and easy to make. The smooth, velvety sauce coats each strand of pasta, providing a comforting and indulgent eating experience. This dish pairs beautifully with a side of garlic bread and a fresh, crisp salad, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal for any occasion.
This is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a standalone meal, offering a comforting and satisfying dining experience all on its own. Additionally, it pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken or succulent prawns, adding a delightful protein element to the meal. The creamy, flavourful sauce complements the tender meat, creating a harmonious combination of flavours.
Additionally, it is a perfect for school lunches, as it can be prepared in advance and packed for a delicious and fulfilling midday meal. Whether served solo, with grilled chicken or prawns, pink pasta is a delightful and adaptable dish for any occasion.
Basic Ingredients for Pink Pasta
Uncooked Pasta (Rigatoni or Penne): These shapes are ideal for holding onto the creamy sauce, ensuring a good distribution of flavour in every bite. The choice of pasta can significantly affect the dish’s texture and overall experience.
Olive Oil & Butter: A combination of olive oil and butter is used for sautéing the onion, providing a rich flavour base. Butter adds creaminess, while olive oil contributes a fruity note.
Small Onion: The onion offers a foundational flavour, adding sweetness and depth when cooked until softened.
Dried Oregano: This herb introduces a subtle, earthy flavour, complementing the tomato and cream components of the sauce.
Minced Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, aromatic layer, essential for a full-bodied sauce.
Vegetable Broth: It helps to thin out the tomato paste and integrate the sauce’s ingredients, adding a subtle depth of flavour.
Tomato Paste: Concentrated tomato paste provides the sauce’s rich, tangy tomato base, contributing to the ‘pink’ colour.
Cooking Cream: This cream creates the luxurious, velvety texture of the sauce and balances the acidity of the tomato paste.
Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan adds a salty, nutty flavour and helps thicken the sauce, enhancing its richness.
Salt & Pepper: Essential for seasoning, they adjust the dish’s flavour to taste.
Whole Wheat Pasta: For a healthier version, you can use whole wheat pasta.
Labneh or Yoghurt: For a tangier, creamier texture that still respects dietary preferences, labneh or a thick yoghurt can be used in place of cooking cream. These alternatives offer a unique flavour profile and can contribute to the sauce’s thickness and richness without the use of traditional cream. Be mindful to incorporate them towards the end of cooking and on low heat to prevent curdling.
Fresh Herbs: Fresh basil or parsley could be added for a fresh, vibrant finish.
Preparation Tips for Pink Pasta
- Ensure the pasta is cooked al dente; it should have a slight bite to it, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the hot sauce.
- Sauté the onion until it’s just beginning to brown; this caramelisation adds complexity to the sauce.
- Gradually add the cream to the tomato mixture to avoid curdling, ensuring a smooth consistency.
Serving Tips for Pink Pasta
- Serve immediately while the sauce is creamy and the pasta is perfectly al dente.
- Garnish with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, if desired, to enhance the dish’s flavour and presentation.
- Accompany with a side salad or garlic bread to complete the meal.
- Cool any leftovers before transferring them to an airtight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Reheat gently, adding a splash of water or cream to loosen the sauce if necessary. Microwave stirring occasionally, or warm on the stove over low heat.
- 300 g uncooked pasta (rigatoni or penne preferred)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 ½ cup cooking cream
- ⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Boil a large pot of salted water and cook your pasta al dente according to the package directions.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the finely chopped onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.
- Stir in the minced garlic, then add the tomato paste. Let it simmer for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the vegetable broth, dried oregano and heavy cream until the sauce becomes smooth. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese.
- If the sauce has thickened too much, you can thin it with a little hot pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve and garnish with extra parmesan cheese.