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Easy Fall Dinner: Penne Rosa

Penne Rosa - tender penne pasta tossed with spicy tomato cream sauce, topped with broiled mozzarella; the perfect fall dinner!

Fall is finally here! And with that comes sweaters, cooler weather...and comfort food! Now we have an excuse to indulge 😊

This meal continues to be one of my favorites, and I make it at least once per week. Minimal dishes and time in the kitchen, and SO good. This is one of my master sauces, and I use it in a variety of Italian dishes - manicotti, ravioli, stuffed shells; it's endlessly versatile.

Another way I love to use this sauce? With rigatoni pasta, mini mozzarella balls, and roasted cherry tomatoes...with fresh basil on top. A must try!

However you decide to try this, it's a must have! With a salad on the side to balance things out, of course 😊

Penne Rosa

Serves 2


6 ounces penne pasta

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons Romano cheese (optional but recommended)

6 ounces tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 large basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup shredded or fresh mozzarella


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt the water and add the pasta; cook until al dente.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce - melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and saute until lightly golden, 90-120 seconds. Add the heavy cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and stir until the cheese is melted.

3. Pour in the tomato sauce, and add in the oregano, sugar, salt, cayenne and pepper. Simmer over medium low until the sauce has slightly thickened. Mix in the fresh basil and the pasta.

4. Turn on the broiler. Move the pasta to a baking dish and top with mozzarella. Place under the broiler until the cheese is lightly golden, 60-90 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple minutes before serving. Plate up, and top with more fresh basil if desired.


1. As I mentioned in my post above, this dish is endless versatile. Use whatever kind of pasta you would like! Many things will work here. The sauce is essentially tomato sauce mixed with Alfredo sauce, which is why I use the Parmesan and Romano cheese. Omit the Romano if you like, but I like the slight depth of flavor that the Romano cheese adds.

2. I always err on the side of caution when it comes to spice - I like just a hint of it in my sauce; feel free to use cayenne or crushed red pepper - either will work here.

3. The broiled mozzarella on top is of course optional, but sometimes I can't resist topping something with cheese and broiling it to oblivion.

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