Penne Rosa is delicious and super simple Italian Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce. This comforting pasta dish is filled with colorful vegetables, tangy tomato sauce and touch of cream. You will love this 20 minute Pasta Dinner for busy weeknights.
What is Penne Rosa?
It is pasta cooked in creamy tomato sauce. This recipe includes delicious al dente penne pasta, chunks of mushrooms for that perfect umami, spinach and tomatoes for burst of colors and freshness. This delectable Italian pasta is a Rockstar of Easy Italian dinner scene.
This meatless, vegetarian pasta dish has only 8 main ingredients that are easy to find. And it takes only 20 minutes to make! Stovetop and Instant Pot instructions are included below to make this gourmet family friendly meal in jiffy.
Noodles & Co. Copycat Penne Rosa Recipe
Noodles & Co. restaurant style Penne Rosa recipe is one of our family favorite. And once you realize how easy and simple it is to make, chances are, it will be yours’s too.
Making restaurant quality meals at home is our family favorite activity. It saves money, we get to use quality ingredients and it is great family bonding activity. I highly recommend it.
This pasta also works beautifully for meal prep. I often make a big batch for dinner and pack leftovers for lunch.
Why you will love this recipe
- It is easy 20 minutes vegetarian pasta dinner
- It tastes amazingly delicious and rich.
- Works perfectly for meal prep so make a big batch to pack for lunch too.
- Healthy and full of nutrients recipe with lots of veggies. Spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes taste amazing when combined together!
- Looks and tastes restaurant style yet very easy to make. The contrast of colors make this beautiful pasta dish truly gourmet quality!
- Easy Pantry Ingredients
Pasta Rosa Ingredients
Exact measurement for the ingredients are listed in the recipe card below. But here is the summery:
- Penne pasta : I am using gluten free penne pasta.
- Marinara Tomato Sauce: I love the sweet and tangy taste and bright red color of San Marzano tomato marinara sauce. Highly recommend it if you can get it. Otherwise, use your favorite marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce.
- Vegetables : Mushrooms, diced tomatoes and baby spinach for freshness and wholesomeness. Couple of cloves of minced garlic for the flavors.
- Olive oil, Heavy Cream and Parmesan Cheese: The cream and Parmesan cheese add quite a bit of richness to the dish. We are only using ½ cup of each so it’s not heavy calorie laden either. You can mix in alfredo sauce instead of adding fresh cream.
- Freshly ground black pepper , red pepper flakes for a little spice kick and dusting of salt to bring it all together in one happy meal !
- If it’s easily available, toss few fresh basil leaves on top just before serving. It adds immense sense of vibrant freshness to this rich dish.
Easy Substitutes and Variations
- Half-and-half, cream cheese or Greek yogurt can easily replace the heavy cream. You can use vegan cream to make this recipe vegan and dairy free.
- Spinach adds a boost of nutrients and beautiful color contrasts. You can use kale, turnip greens, chard or your favorite greens.
- For the perfect umami and meaty texture, I am adding mushrooms. You can use your favorite protein like chicken, shrimps. Parmesan Crusted Chicken is often added too.
- Choose a good quality marinara sauce. I like the sweet and tangy Italian San Marzano marinara sauce. Adding a splash of wine won’t be bad choice either.
- Last but not least, instead of penne, you can use any short pasta like fusilli, rigatoni, macaroni or rotini. All good choices !!
Other Italian Pasta Dinner Recipes
- Instant Pot Stuffed Shells
- Italian Summer Pasta Salad
- Gnocchi Sheet Pan Dinner
- Creamy Lemon Basil Pasta
- Penne Pesto Primavera
- Creamy Gnocchi Soup
Pair this pasta with full bodied red wine for ultimate gourmet dining experience. Serve it with a side of garlic bread or a sliced baguette with olive oil dip.. heavenly!
How to Make
- Cook pasta – make pasta according to package instructions. If using Instant Pot, choose Manual or Pressure cook setting and choose half the time suggested on the box.
- Make Rosa Sauce – Sauté Mushrooms in olive oil. Add tomato sauce, bit of water and heavy cream. Mix well and let it simmer for couple minutes.
- Stir in cooked pasta and baby spinach. Finish off with fresh ground black pepper, shredded parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. And ta da !!
- Your Penne Rosa is ready for dinner !! Scoop out on the dinner plate and devour !
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Penne Rosa – Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce
- 1½ cups (12 oz) Penne Pasta I used gluten free pasta
- 3 cups (25 oz) Marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 8 oz. Mushrooms -sliced
- 2 Roma Tomatoes – diced
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper -per taste
- 1 cup water for Instant Pot method only
How to Make Pasta Rosa On Stove Top
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in minced garlic, sliced mushrooms and salt. Sauté for few minutes, until mushrooms are soft and tender.
- Stir in cooked pasta, marinara sauce , diced tomatoes and spinach. Stir to combine.
- Stir in heavy cream. Gently mix everything well together. The pasta starts to soak up the liquid and sauce. Adjust the salt if needed.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper on top. Serve warm. Bon appetit!!
How to Make Penne Rosa in Instant Pot
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add the mushrooms, salt and garlic and cook for few minutes. Cancel Saute.
- Add the pasta and water and mix well. Scrape if anything is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Most of the pasta should be covered in the water.
- Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Do NOT stir.
- Close the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position. Choose MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK mode at high pressure for 4 minutes. ( do half of the time suggested on pasta box cooking time )This will result in al dente pasta.
- When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually by moving the valve from sealing to venting. Open the lid.
- Stir in the cream, tomatoes and spinach and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Penne Rosa is ready to be served.
- Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. Serve warm. Bon Appetit!!