★★★★★

Penne Rosa

Penne noodles tossed in creamy tomato sauce is everyone’s favorite on pasta night! Enjoy this Penne Rosa recipe that’s just like the menu favorite from Noodles & Co.

White bowls filled with homemade penne rosa.

When it comes to deciding what pasta recipes to make for dinner, I’m always faced with a quandry: cream sauce or tomato sauce?

Sometimes I know for sure I’m in the mood for a simple marinara sauce. Other times, nothing sounds better than a creamy cheesy sauce like Alfredo.

But more often than not, I’m indecisive. I want both.

This Penne Rosa recipe brings you the best of both worlds! Inspired by the Noodles & Co. menu favorite, this red sauce is about to change your pasta game forever.

Now, you can have that herb-y, tangy, garlicy flavor of your favorite red sauces AND the luscious creaminess of white sauces all in one.

Skip the takeout this weekend and make a batch of Penne Rosa instead. It hardly takes any more time than picking up an order from a restaurant and it’s so much more economical!

What is Penne Rosa

Penne pasta in a white bowl with tomato cream sauce, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

I first sampled Penne Rosa at the restaurant Noodles & Company. a while back. A friend of mine recommended I order it next time I found myself at a Noodles & Co. and I’m glad she did.

After a few bites of that pasta with mushrooms and spinach in a zesty tomato cream sauce, I was already scheming about how to recreate it in my own kitchen.

I loved the slight spicy kick to the sauce that complimented the rich creamy texture so well!

The savory mushrooms and the chunks of fresh tomato in each bite got a big thumbs up, too. . .and no pasta dish is complete without a little (or a lot) of Parmesan cheese on top!

This Penne Rosa Noodles and Company copy cat recipe tastes even better than the restaurant version (in my humble opinion). If you’re looking for a pasta recipe that’s easy and fresh, with the warmth of comfort food, this is just the ticket.

Picture of all the ingredients needed to make penne rosa.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make my Penne Rosa Noodles and Company recipe, I started with these ingredients:

{Ingredients at a glance; scroll down for amounts and full printable recipe]

  • Penne pasta noodles
  • Marinara sauce
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Garlic, pressed
  • Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Served on its own, this pasta recipe happens to be vegetarian. It has so much flavor you won’t even miss the meat!

Step by step photo showing how to make penne rosa.

How to Make Penne Rosa

STEP 1. Cook penne pasta according to package directions.

STEP 2. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

To the skillet, add the pressed garlic and cook for an additional minute.

STEP 3. Stir in cooked and drained penne pasta, marinara sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes.

STEP 4. Add in fresh diced tomatoes and spinach. Stir to combine and cook until spinach is mostly wilted. Stir in the heavy cream. Add salt and pepper. Heat just until warm.

Serve hot with plenty of fresh parmesan cheese grated on top! This would be delicious served with a side of Garlic Bread and a simple Italian salad for a full Italian feast.

Large white skillet filled with cooked pasta in cream sauce with mushroom, tomatoes, and spinach.

Tips & Tricks

  • This is a meatless meal that’s full of flavor! If you want to add some meat, go for it. Parmesan crusted chicken, tilapia , Italian sausage or pork chops would all taste wonderful in Penne Rosa.
  • Like it spicier? Add more red pepper flakes to taste!
  • Any marinara sauce or tomato-based spaghetti sauce will be delicious in this recipe. Make your own or use your favorite store bought sauce.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente to avoid the noodles getting soggy when you add them to the sauce.
  • This is not the time to substitute skim milk or other lower fat alternatives to the cream. Real whipping cream is what gives this sauce the silky texture and incredibly creamy flavor. It’s worth it, I promise!

Penne Pasta Recipes

So many ways to enjoy penne noodles, so little time! Along with Penne Rosa, I reach for penne pasta when I make pesto, Cajun Pasta and even Chili Mac.

Don’t have penne? You can still make this dish with other shaped noodles. Farfalle Rosa, Ziti rosa, linguini rosa. . . whatever pasta you have in your pantry can go right into this sauce.

Wooden spoon with a scoop of penne pasta lifting out of the skillet.

More Easy Dinner Recipes

Yield: 8 servings

Penne Rosa

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Penne noodles tossed in creamy tomato sauce is everyone's favorite on pasta night! Enjoy this Penne Rosa recipe that's just like the menu favorite from Noodles & Co.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

    1. Cook penne pasta according to package directions.
    2. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.
    3. To the skillet, add the pressed garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    4. Stir in cooked and drained penne pasta, marinara sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes.
    5. Add in fresh diced tomatoes and spinach. Stir to combine and cook until spinach is mostly wilted. 
    6. Stir in the heavy cream. Add salt and pepper. Heat just until warm.
    7. Serve hot with parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • Add parmesan crusted chicken, tilapia, or pork chops for a complete protein packed dinner.
  • Jarred vodka sauce is also a delicious substitute for the marinara sauce (I love Rao's brand sauces).
  • Skip the pasta and serve over zoodles.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 462mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

If you’re tired to making the same old pasta dishes, try my Penne Rosa recipe to shake things up! Zesty and creamy with the summertime flavors of fresh Roma Tomatoes, this pasta dinner is about as irresistible as it gets.

Aimee

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on May 21, 2020

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