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Pink Pasta (Pasta with Alfredo + Marinara!)

Pink Pasta – This pasta with tomato cream sauce uses a combination of alfredo and marinara sauces to get a pretty pink color. It makes for some serious bubbly, cheesy goodness! (Gluten Free Option!)

Pink Pasta with Alfredo and Marinara Sauces from One Lovely Life

I had several disastrously bad high school dance dates. Like, comically, cringe-worthy bad.

BUT.

One of the best things that ever happened to me on one of these terrible dance dates was trying pink pasta for the first time.

It’s nothing new, or particularly fancy,  but when you’re in high school in a brightly colored, fluffy, sparkly dress, almost anything can be fancy, am I right?

In essence, pink pasta is a creamy tomato sauce pasta with both alfredo and marinara sauces on it. It’s delicious. CRAZY delicious.


Pink Pasta I One Lovely Life Pink Pasta I One Lovely Life
WHAT GOES INTO PINK PASTA?

Pink pasta is a combination of Alfredo sauce (white) and marinara or red pasta sauce (red). The creamy tomato sauce has a pretty pink color that gives this dish its name. Here’s all you need to make it:

  • PASTA. You can use a variety of pasta shapes for this pink pasta recipe. I like penne or rotini. You can absolutely use gluten free pasta if you’re GF! We like Tinkyada and Jovial brands.
  • ALFREDO SAUCE. You can use whatever store-bought or homemade Alfredo sauce is your favorite. We’ve made this lighter one (I decrease the garlic to 1 clove), and have even made this with our vegan Alfredo sauce.
  • MARINARA OR RED PASTA SAUCE. Then, to take the sauce from white to pink, we add red! You can use homemade or store-bought marinara or pasta sauce. We like Rao’s marinara, Newman’s Own Sockarooni (it has bell peppers and mushrooms and a *tiny* bit of kick), or a homemade sauce, like our pomodoro sauce.
  • FRESH BASIL. To add some brightness and a little pop of green, I like adding some fresh basil. It really wakes up the flavor and makes this taste incredible!
  • MOZZARELLA & PARMESAN CHEESE. Lastly, for that gooey-gooey cheesy factor, we top this with a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. You can skip this step if you want to keep things lighter, or you can use dairy-free cheese for a vegan or dairy free version (in addition to a vegan Alfredo sauce)

FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR PERFECT PINK PASTA

WHAT KIND OF PASTA CAN YOU USE FOR PINK PASTA? Truly, any shape will taste great with the sauce, but since we’re baking this dish casserole-style, I prefer using a shorter pasta like rotini (spirals), penne (short tubes), or farfalle (bowties).

MIX-IN IDEAS TO CHANGE THINGS UP. For a little variety, you can absolutely stir in some cooked, diced chicken, Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms, or a little spinach. It’s all yummy in this pasta with tomato cream sauce!

CAN I MAKE THIS GLUTEN FREE? Absolutely! To make gluten free pink pasta, just swap in a good-quality gluten free pasta. Our favorite gluten free pastas are Tinkyada and Jovial brand brown rice pastas. They taste and feel just like regular pasta and hold their shape better than white rice/corn varieties.

CAN YOU MAKE DAIRY FREE PINK PASTA? You can still make pink pasta! For the tomato cream sauce, you’ll need to use a dairy free/vegan Alfredo sauce, then either skip the cheese or use vegan cheese alternatives. Our favorite dairy-free mozzarella is this one from Daiya. We like this vegan parmesan.

CAN I FREEZE PINK PASTA? Pink pasta makes a great freezer meal. I recommend preparing and assembling it, but not baking it before freezing. Put it in a freezer-safe pan (like these!), cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then cover tightly with foil before freezing. You’ll remove the plastic wrap and foil, pop it in the oven to bake as directed below, just plan to add 5-10 extra minutes to the bake time.

*I like to divide the recipe into two 8×8 containers (these flexible foil ones are GREAT for the freezer) so we get two dinners out of the recipe! Or, I’ll make 1/2 the first day and freeze 1/2 for another day. 

Pink Pasta I One Lovely Life

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Pink Pasta with Alfredo and Marinara Sauces from One Lovely Life

Pink Pasta


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: About 50 minutes
  • Yield: about 8

Description

Pink Pasta – This creamy tomato sauce pasta uses a blend of Alfredo and marinara sauce. It’s cheesy, delicious goodness! (Gluten Free Friendly!)


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb. short pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or rotini (gluten free, as needed)
  • 2 cups your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 cups your favorite alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, minced (plus additional for garnish, if desired)
  • 11 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water 1-2 minutes less than the package directs (it will finish cooking in the sauce and in the oven). Drain pasta and discard pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, make “pink” sauce by stirring together marinara and alfredo sauces in a medium saucepan over low heat until well blended. Stir in fresh basil.
  3. When pasta has finished cooking, toss pasta with pink sauce. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired.
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American, Italian-American

Keywords: Pink Pasta, Pasta with Alfredo and Marinara, Creamy Tomato Sauce Pasta

 

19 Comments

  1. I was just looking at the expiration date on my sockarooni sauce yesterday,,,thanks for the great dinner suggestion!

  2. You are a good sport Emily. And a kind one. And that is what I was hoping for when I encouraged you to accept every date invitation unless you truly felt unsafe.

    And now you have a long car trip’s worth of good stories. WIn. Win!

    p.s.
    I LOVE pink pasta, harking back to the days with Olive Garden introduced me to the concept with their Ravioli. YUM!

  3. I would LOVE to spend a long car trip playing bad date storie tennis with you. That sounds almost as good as this pasta.

    p.s. this is how I make my lasagna – alfredo and marinara. Divine.

  4. So Em, I’m one of those sad souls whose brothers took her to two of her school dances–not because she said no to other offers, but because she had no offers at all. Both dates (one with your dad, one of the most popular guys at Orem High, and the other with your Uncle Shawn, another of the most eligible Orem High bachelors) were more fun than just about any other date I ever had. (But don’t tell Bob)

    1. Oh, believe me… it wasn’t that I was turning down any offers. I even had to go stag my junior year (I was on homecoming court without a date). My dad has told me all about how much fun he had with you as a date! My brother was 11 at the time, which somehow seemed less magical.

      1. Man. My best ever: the football player who said [graciously] as he dropped me off afterwards, “I usually only do cheerleaders; but you were pretty fun.”

  5. you’re sweet to still go on them despite how awkward they might’ve been – i would’ve looked the other way, which is so terrible of me. i love the alfredo and red sauce that you used in this pasta!!

  6. I’m proud that your parents told you to accept all dates unless you felt you would be unsafe, my parents said no for me to ALL of them! 🙂 Sophie is even cute with pasta sauce all over her chubby cheeks!

  7. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I appreciate the fact that at the end of the week I can look over your recipes and have some wonderful options for my family that are full of flavor.

  8. This is probably one of the most amazing pasta dishes I have ever made and consumed in general! I added 1/3 pound of ground beef and 1/3 pound of ground spicy italian pork sausage to mine because my bf won’t eat anything without some meat in it but I’m sure with or without my addition it is seriously AMAZING!!!

  9. This is STILL one of my most favorite recipes EVER. I love how bubbly and brown the cheese on the top gets, mixed with the freshness from the basil, and creaminess of the sauce, it cannot be beat. This is one of the only dishes that the husband will actually eat (and enjoy!) leftovers of.

  10. I love this paste, Em! So does my whole family and that is a feat! Thanks for all your great ideas for food and life! You make motherhood a little easier for a great many of us!

  11. Just had penne with vodka sauce at a local Italian restaurant and was craving a repeat. Found this recipe and was not disappointed! I used 2 full cups of both sauces, but reduced the mozzarella by a 1/2 cup. I cannot wait for lunch tomorrow now.

  12. So simple & delicious!!
    I use Signature brand Alfredo sauce & Classico garlic spaghetti sauce!
    I brown some ground beef with minced garlic, onion powder, basil, salt, pepper & an Italian seasoning blend.
    I cook red lentil pasta for this recipe as well.
    I mix it all together with some ricotta cheese & mozzarella shredded cheese and put it in the baking dish. Topped with more mozzarella. YUM!!

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