Have you ever had pink sauce? Or better yet pink sauce pasta? It’s the perfect combination of delicious, bold tomato sauce mixed with just a couple of key ingredients to make it decadent, creamy, and oh so dreamy. This recipe is inspired by Mama D’s in Newport Beach, California. Anyone who’s dined at Mama D’s knows that despite their menu filled with dozens of delicious items including pizza, salad, oven-baked dishes, the pink sauce pasta with rigatoni is the best thing on the menu.

Pink Sauce Pasta with rigatoni on plate

The Pink Sauce at Mama D’s can be served with any kind of pasta on their menu, from ravioli to spaghetti, or even the sausage and chicken capri; so when you’re making this heavenly sauce at home, it can also be served with any pasta you have on hand as well. We love the shape, texture, and size of the rigatoni, plus the hollow inside allows for even more of that delectable pink sauce to coat your pasta. Pink sauce pasta is the ultimate crowd pleaser and is perfect for kids, a casual date night at home, or a large family gathering. The best part: it tastes amazing. The second best part: it’s one of the most simple pasta dishes you will ever make.


Pink Sauce Pasta from Mama D's in Newport Beach

Pink Sauce Pasta on plate with rigatoni

How to make Pink Sauce

Making this dish at home is really straightforward. First you’ll create a “red sauce” simply by cooking chopped onions in olive oil, then adding tomatoes (we recommend San Marzano for the best flavor, but you can use any canned tomatoes you have on hand), and letting it simmer for 30 minutes. The red sauce becomes a pink sauce with the simple addition of some heavy cream and freshly grated parm– that’s it! Add your hot pasta and a splash of pasta water to your creamy pink sauce and the dish is ready to serve. This dish takes just over 30 minutes from beginning to end.

Pink Sauce Pasta on plate with rigatoni

Pink Sauce Pasta

5 from 29 votes
Brooke Eliason
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Inspired by Mama D's in Newport Beach, California, this pink sauce pasta recipe is easy and absolutely delicious.


  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled of San Marzano tomatoes*
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni or other pasta
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)


  • Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Do not brown or burn onions or garlic.
  • Using your hands, break up the San Marzano tomatoes as you pour them into the large pot. This will release the juices and help break up the tomatoes so they cook evenly. Add salt and bring to a soft boil, then lower heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  • After tomatoes have cooked for 30 minutes, use an immersion blender in your large pot to blend the sauce into a creamy, smooth consistency. You may need to tilt your pot to one side so the sauce can gather and your blender is fully immersed. ** Keep the pot on low heat and add cream, Parmigiano Reggiano, basil and stir until smooth.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside. Add hot pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water, adding more if your sauce is too thick. The pasta sauce will quickly set up as it cools. Serve immediately with additional grated parm if desired.


* You may use any tomatoes you have on hand, but using both San Marzano tomatoes and tomatoes that are still whole typically yields better flavor. 
** If you do not have an immersion blender, you can blend your tomato sauce in a traditional blender to make smooth. Make sure you let your sauce cool for a few minutes before blending, or the pressure from the hot sauce will make the blender lid burst off in the process.

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