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Penne with Pancetta and Tomato-Cream Sauce

Penne with Pancetta and Tomato-Cream Sauce

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  • 1/2 cup chopped pancetta or bacon (3 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3/4 cup torn basil leaves, divided

Recipe Preparation

  • Cook pancetta in large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Add olive oil and garlic to pancetta drippings and sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juices, wine, and cream. Bring sauce to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta and divide among 4 plates. Spoon sauce over pasta. Sprinkle pasta with pancetta and remaining 1/4 cup basil and serve.

Recipe by Brooke Dojny, Melanie Barnard,Reviews Section

Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman-Style Pasta With Mushrooms and Bacon) Recipe

Why It Works

  • A mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms gives this pasta the most complex, earthy flavor.
  • Soaking the dried porcini in white wine is an efficient step that infuses the wine with even more mushroom flavor.

This earthy, smoky classic pasta dish has all the flavors of the forest and a campfire packed into it. Loaded with mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, and a touch of cream, it'll momentarily transport you from wherever you are to a cabin in a wintertime woodland.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta bacon, chopped
  • ⅓ cup vodka
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta, and saute until lightly browned. Add vodka and stir until it is reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.

Penne Pasta in Creamy Vodka Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms

Penne Pasta in Creamy Vodka Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms – make your own vodka sauce from scratch! Easy, delicious, and so Italian! Perfect weeknight dinner!

Want to make an easy Italian dish at home and impress your family, your friends, or your date? Then, this creamy vodka tomato sauce pasta is the right recipe for you!

This pasta dish is packed with flavors (tomatoes, mushrooms, spices, and don’t forget vodka!), it’s very creamy, with just the right amount of “kick” (spiciness), topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese! The creamy vodka and tomato pasta sauce will please everyone!

Because the sauce is made completely from scratch (no packaged sauces), you can easily convert this recipe to a gluten free one, just by using gluten-free brown-rice penne pasta (I used Tinkyada brand).

Step-by-step photos to illustrate the cooking process:
In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat, until onion softens. Add tomatoes, vodka, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano – break tomatoes if necessary. Bring the mixture to boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer, covered, occasionally stirring, for about 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. During the last 10 minutes, add mushrooms, and continue to simmer.

At the end of 20 minutes of simmering, mushrooms should be cooked through, and sauce will thicken:

While on low heat, add heavy cream and half & half to the sauce:

Stir everything to ensure even consistency. Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt or more to season the sauce. At this point, your sauce will acquire a nice color just like that:

In the mean time, cook pasta according to package instructions – add cooked and rinsed pasta to the sauce. Reheat the sauce on low heat to heat everything through:

Pasta with Pancetta Cream Sauce

Cook linguine according to package directions, until al dente drain well and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt butter over medium heat sauté garlic and shallots, for 2 minutes. Add pancetta and sauté for 2 minutess. Add wine, bring to boil, and cook stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Stir in cream mixture and eggs into pasta return to low heat for 2 minutes while tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with Canadian Parmesan cheese and serve.

Pancetta is Italian bacon that is cured but unsmoked. It is available by the piece or deli sliced at most supermarkets.

Penne alla Vodka Recipe

Why It Works

  • Using a hefty dose of tomato paste gives the sauce the deeply sweet base notes it needs, while a small can of tomatoes adds a brighter layer of flavor.
  • Very gently cooking the onions and garlic in butter makes them very sweet and mild, without any harsh onion flavor remaining in the final sauce.
  • Adding the vodka to the sauce when there are only a handful of minutes left of cooking time ensures the sauce is neither overly boozy nor absent of the flavor-enhancing effects of the vodka.

A staple of Italian-American red-sauce restaurants across the United States since the 1980s, vodka sauce has a history as opaque as its densely creamy orange hue. Was it a famous Italian actor who invented it? A '70s restaurant in Bologna? A Columbia University student? Or did it come from Russia? Meh, as much as I love delving into the history of famous dishes, I can live with this mystery remaining unsolved.

What's cool about vodka sauce isn't who came up with it, but rather how delicious it is. And yes, the vodka really does matter here. We know, because we've done the tests before. Several years ago, Kenji delved into the matter of whether vodka sauce really needed the vodka, and the answer was an unequivocal yes (though the sauce is delicious without it, too).

In a series of blind tastings, Kenji found that the hit of neutral booze enhanced the fruity aroma of the sauce while bringing a background heat and sharpness that balanced out the richness of the sauce.

He also zeroed in on what he found to be the ideal amount of vodka—about one quarter cup per quart of sauce, simmered for about seven minutes before serving. My testing aligned with his, and so that's what this recipe calls for (to get the timing right, the vodka is added about a minute before the pasta is combined with the sauce, and then it's all cooked together for another few minutes by the time cheese is stirred in and the pasta is finished, you'll be pretty close to the seven-minute mark).

That said, personal tastes vary, so if you want a boozier sauce, you can always add a little splash of vodka right before serving to bring the alcohol to the forefront.

What else makes this sauce great? Well, if you look at enough vodka sauce recipes out there, you'll find that some of them use a very large volume of tomato paste as the only tomato element in the sauce, while others go for canned tomatoes (sometimes with a couple tablespoons of tomato paste added for depth).

I tested both methods and liked aspects of each. A tomato paste–heavy vodka sauce has wonderful fruity depth that, to me, gives the sauce part of its signature flavor. But even a full tube of paste combined with a whole lot of cream can't quite make enough sauce for four servings, and leaves the onion flavor too dominant. Canned tomatoes, on the other hand, provide a brighter, fruitier tomato character, but none of that tomato paste depth a couple tablespoons of paste aren't enough to compensate for that.

My solution: Use both an entire tube (or can) or tomato paste, plus a small can of whole peeled tomatoes. Combined, they yield a sauce that's nuanced and layered, with richness, depth, and brightness. It's a winner.

As for the pasta? Most recipes call for penne, and it's an option here, but at Serious Eats we love this sauce even more with rigatoni.

Pasta - Penne Rosa in Tomato-Cream Wine Sauce

Sharing with you 15 minutes, easy and delicious pasta recipe which will sure make a spot in your personal Italian Favorites cookbook - guaranteed. This is probably how I started making Italian food at home. We had lots of Penne Rosa in Noodles and Company in San Diego. Love their quality and taste of food and service. Always satisfactory.

Their Penne Rosa Pasta dish, I ate first time with my colleagues for an office lunch. Loved it at first bite, never hated it ever again. When it comes to my favorite flavors & food, I want to make'em at home (if possible). So that we can eat economical way and avoid going out still enjoying the food we crave for.

So, I tested recipe, adapted and tasted it a number of times until I got it perfect, to call it Penne Rosa. You have to try it to believe me.

In States, I often use store bought Marinara Sauce (mostly Costco Marinara - Pack of Two) or Tomato Basil Sauce to make this recipe. However, in India, I even make this sauce at home from scratch, starting from blanching tomatoes in hot bath. :) Well, for today, I will just stick to Pasta Recipe with Wine and Tomato Sauce and a promise to share my tomato-basil marinara some other time.

Try this recipe and I will wait for your taste bud's feedback and if you like it, please Pin-it for me. Enjoy!!

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

This is Ree's favorite pasta sauce in the whole world.

My favorite pasta sauce in the whole world.

whole medium onion, finely diced

15-ounce cans tomato sauce or marinara sauce

Grated parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or so. Pour in tomato sauce and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately. (Thin with pasta water before adding basil if needed.)

I have a bit of a problem. It&rsquos an addiction to light orange-red pasta sauces.

Pasta alla Vodka. Proceed with caution. It&rsquos addictive.

And of course, there&rsquos this one from my cookbook:

Continuing that tradition, today I bring you this most basic recipe for pasta with tomato cream sauce.

Penne with Mushroom Tomato Cream Sauce

Just 30 minutes, and this pasta dinner can be on your table. Add slices of crusty French bread to complete the meal.


  • 2 2/3 cups (650 mL) penne pasta
  • 3 oz (85 g) pancetta or 4 strips bacon, chopped*
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 oz (227 g) crimini mushrooms, sliced (2 cups/500 mL)
  • 1 can (796 mL/28 oz) Muir Glen&trade Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
  • 2 cups (500 mL) packed fresh baby spinach


  • Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Return to saucepan keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, in 12-inch (30 cm) skillet or Dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove pancetta to paper towels to drain. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and mushrooms in oil 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream heat just until hot. Stir in pasta.
  • Add spinach, toss until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle individual servings with pancetta.

*If using bacon, omit olive oil and use bacon drippings to cook garlic and mushrooms.