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.
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.
MAKE NEXT: BROWN BUTTER & SAGE RAVIOLI
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
- 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.
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This recipe is SO easy. Using minimal high quality ingredients, and you have the perfect pasta sauce. It is creamy and flavorful, and so pretty on the plate! My entire family loved this recipe.
So happy you liked it Erica! It’s definitely on our weekly rotation. 🙂
Love this sauce! Can’t make it out to Mama D’s with this pandemic but definitely a new addition to our quarantine meals at home.
Thank you so much AJ! So happy to hear this- we have it on repeat at our house too. 🙂
This looks amazing! Can I substitute fresh tomatoes in place of the canned ones?
Yes totally just weight it out so it’s the same amount. 🙂
Simple but so delicious. Flavorful but not too rich or heavy. My husband and I ate this right up. Nothing better than a wonderful pasta recipe. Just follow the recipe and you’ll have a crowd pleaser dish for sure.
We tried this Pink Sauce recipe about a week after it was posted and we have had it again three or four times since. It is so simple yet delish. My whole family likes it. Last time we had it, we cut up some Italian sausage links and tossed them in. Perfection!
Delicious and so easy!!!
Made this the other night, it was quick and easy and so so delicious. It’s definitely going to be on our regular dinner rotation.
The best pink sauce I have tried. Almost do it weekly in my house. So good.
This is the best! I don’t know if my family will ever even try to eat any other kind of pasta, ever!
This is insanely good. Also super easy and easy pretty cheap for a girl on a budget. The leftovers are just as amazing as the meal made fresh. ❤️
Thank you so much Haley!
I make this at least twice a month if not more. It’s the most amazing, easy recipe and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it. Husband, mama, toddler and baby approved!
What a compliment– thank you so much Hailey!
This is soo yummy and so easy! It’s definitely a favorite in our house! Thanks for the delicious recipe
Simple and delicious!! Even my kids who don’t like spaghetti sauce LOVED this!
Thank you Marissa!
This pink sauce is so rich in taste and flavors but so easy to make! My family and I love it!
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made this recipe. It’s that good! Even my son who hates tomatoes devours it. 😀🤷🏼♀️
This is the best. I make it all the time! Easy to make dairy free if you replace the heavy cream with canned coconut milk.
This is a family favorite. My Italian husband said it’s restaurant quality and tastes authentic. My kids ask for it all the time. And it’s so simple!
Best pasta I’ve ever made. Added cooked crumbled sausage and sautéed broccoli rabe. Oh my. Might even be the best thing I’ve ever made. Ever. Thank you!!!!
Love the additions you made! Thank you so much.
Made this sauce for the first time the other day after wanting to for some time now – I was not disappointed! This sauce has such an awesome flavor, and that was even with just a few shakes of dried basil. I can’t wait to make it with the fresh stuff 🙂 Husband said it is officially his new favorite pasta sauce, so I am betting this will be a consistent offender on our weekly menus. Thanks Female Foodie! Looking forward to trying your other recipes 🙂
Thank you so much Kailee! This is such a huge compliment and we are so happy to hear that both you and your husband loved it. Have a great week! -Brooke <3
Made this again tonight. I’m always amazed at how truly simple it is.
So happy to hear that it’s a great simple meal for you. Thanks Lynette!
This was soooo good!! We ordered from the restaurant last week and it was underwhelming. Maybe just cold by the time I got home? Decided to make it this week and it was such a huge hit. I surprise myself. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Do you have any tips on how to make the sauce in the instant pot?
So glad to hear that you liked it! Definitely give the restaurant another shot (ideally post-covid when you can sit down and enjoy there!). But so happy that you loved our copycat version. Haven’t made it in the Instant Pot- let us know if you try that!
Julie Ann Crane
Can you use pecorino Romano instead? Or would it be too salty? Thanks!
Totally! You just might need to add less salt (but possibly not! start with a small amount and taste/add more as you go). Will work great!
I made this tonight for my family and we couldn’t get enough! So comforting and delicious 🙂
Thank you so much Kristina! I appreciate it a ton and hope you’re doing well. 🙂
AMAZING 🤩 I didn’t have everything the recipe calls for, but even with all of the substitutions, this was so tasty! If you don’t have whole tomatoes, I used diced tomatoes that I had on hand, and added a little cream cheese with milk instead of heavy cream. To top it off, I’m 4 months pregnant and also wanted more carbs to go with this meal so just FYI, homemade French bread pairs perfectly 🥰
Thank you Chelsea! Loved hearing about those substitutions and glad they worked well. French bread with this sounds amazing!
Making suace now! If we are not eating it later, do we still ad pasta in or wait til it’s time to eat?
You can do either but I personally recommend making the pasta just before you eat and then combining. Happy cooking. 🙂
This is so good. My whole family devoured it.
Thank you so much Meg!
Super easy and super delicious! Thanks for sharing, great option for vegetarians!
Thanks so much Laura!
A restaurant, since closed, that my hubby and I loved, served this sauce on fettucini and selected seafood, usually shrimp, scallops and crab. They called it Fettucini del Mar. Outstanding combination! Don’t forget grated parm on top and cheese, garlic bread!!
Wonderful flavor for such a simple recipe. A win!
Thank you Brianna! I appreciate it so much. 🙂
can this be made in advance and frozen?
Yes absolutely! It freezes really well. For the absolute best result you could make the entire sauce without the cream and parm and then add those in just before serving, but if you want to make it in its entirety it will still freeze well. Happy cooking!
Made this sauce and served it with ravioli, it was delicious!!
So glad to hear it! Thanks 🙂