Post updated on 17 April 2021.
This delicious Creamy Tomato and Mascarpone Pasta is the best pink sauce pasta recipe you'll ever need. Rich, tasty, simple, and ready in under 30 minutes!!
In summer, quick and simple pasta dishes are always welcome in the household. This pasta dish may look plain and simple, but thanks to rich ingredients such as fresh cherry tomatoes, herbs, and mascarpone cheese, I promise that this is the most delicious and rich pasta sauce recipe out there! Ready in under 30 minutes, this quick recipe will become a summer family favourite in no time!
If you've never tried incorporating mascarpone in pasta sauce before, you will start doing so after you try this recipe! Mascarpone pairs perfectly with tomato sauce. It elevates plain pasta sauce into something more rich, velvety, and creamy! This simple pasta with a quick tomato and mascarpone sauce without cream is the perfect weeknight dinner or summer-time lunch and is a great way to use those extra fresh tomatoes when in season.
Ingredients & Substitutions for Creamy Tomato and Mascarpone Pasta
For this Mascarpone Tomato Pasta, you will need the following ingredients:
- Olive Oil - to saute your base ingredients.
- Onion - a medium-sized onion is enough for this recipe. Finely dice the onion if you won't be pureeing the sauce.
- Garlic clove - finely diced and added for flavor
- Italian Seasoning - I use dry Italian Mixed Herbs which include a mixture of dried onions, red bell pepper, celery, and chives
- Dried Chilli Flakes- for a slightly spicy flavor (you may add as much as desired, or eliminate completely)
- Tomatoes - I prefer fresh cherry, grape, or plum tomatoes (or a mixture!) rather than canned tomatoes for this recipe. I believe fresh tomatoes contribute to the richness and freshness of this sauce, but if fresh tomatoes aren't available, you can use canned chopped tomatoes or polpa. Frozen tomatoes also work well for this creamy tomato and mascarpone sauce recipe.
- Tomato Paste - to add flavor and color
- Chicken Stock - for flavor and the liquid base of the sauce (I prefer low-sodium). You can also use vegetable stock.
- Salt and Pepper - to taste. Also, remember to add some salt to boiling water before adding the pasta
- Pasta Water - this starchy water helps glue the pasta and sauce together and is one of the biggest secrets for delicious and perfect pasta sauces. Make sure to reserve some pasta water right before draining your pasta after cooking!
- Pasta - obviously!
- Mascarpone Cheese - the key ingredient needed for this rich and smooth creamy sauce! You need to add this in the very end.
- Parmesan Cheese - sprinkle freshly grated parmesan over pasta right before serving. Grana Padano works just fine, too!
- Fresh Basil - add this at the end. This is completely optional but it will improve flavor and brighten your plate!
What Type of Pasta Should You Use?
This creamy tomato and mascarpone sauce goes well with dried pasta. For this recipe, I prefer using Bucatini (which is similar to spaghetti with a hole running through the center). Unlike linguine or spaghetti, bucatini not only gets coated with sauce, but also filled with sauce! Bucatini works great with velvety sauces such as this tomato and mascarpone sauce.
If bucatini are not available to you, feel free to use spaghetti or linguine, which also go well with tomato-based sauces.
How to Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta
Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, and saute a finely diced onion until it becomes soft and translucent (this usually requires around 4-5 minutes). Then, add the garlic and spices.
Add some tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. You can either add these whole or halved and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
Then, add your chicken (or vegetable stock), cover your skillet, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. In the meantime, start boiling your pasta in salted water. Cook pasta until al-dente (1-2 minutes less than package instructions). Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining the pasta - do not forget this step!
Add about ⅓ cup of pasta water to your sauce, and simmer for another 10 minutes, this time uncovered. The sauce will thicken as it simmers. If it starts to dry out, add some more pasta water. Turn off the heat, and whisk in some mascarpone cheese.
You can choose to blend the sauce if you prefer a smoother pasta sauce. If doing so, use a handheld stick blender or a stand blender and pulse until smooth. I prefer to leave the sauce as is, without blending it.
Always add pasta to the sauce (in the skillet, or a large mixing bowl, if blended) and coat well with sauce using kitchen thongs and/or two large wooden spoons to toss pasta with sauce. Make sure the pasta is completely coated with sauce before serving.
Transfer to pasta bowls and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan (or Grana Padano) cheese and top with fresh basil leaves.
This recipe yields 4 servings and will produce a decent amount of fresh tomato and mascarpone sauce. Freeze leftover sauce for later use!
Is Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce Vegetarian?
Mascarpone Cheese is vegetarian, as it typically does not contain animal-derived rennet. Mascarpone tomato sauce is therefore suitable for vegetarians if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. This recipe is not suitable for vegans.
Can You add Meat to Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce?
Definitely! Feel free to add bacon, sausage, chorizo, or pancetta the the sauce if you would like a meaty version. Add your favourite meat addition after sauteeing the onions.
Can You Freeze Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce?
You can freeze leftover tomato mascarpone pasta sauce for up to 1 month. In fact, you can make a double batch of sauce (just be sure to reserve enough pasta water before draining) and freeze for later use! Make sure that the sauce has completely cooled down before freezing. Thaw overnight and heat in the microwave and/or skillet before using.
Refrigerate leftover pasta which has already been mixed with sauce for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Unless you have reserved pasta water, you cannot really make the sauce ahead, since you would require the reserved pasta water, meaning you need to cook the pasta at the same time of sauce preparation, however this recipe really takes no time at all to do!
Creamy Tomato and Mascarpone Pasta
- 400 g dried pasta (any pasta of choice)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. dried chilli (optional)
- 3 ½ tbsp. mascarpone cheese
- 400 g fresh tomatoes (cherry, grape, or plum) halved or whole, with skin on see notes
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup chicken stock low-sodium
- ⅓ cup reserved pasta water + extra as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese freshly grated
- fresh basil leaves
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat, add diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add minced garlic and dried herbs (Italian seasoning and dried chilli, if using) and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and halved (or whole) tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken stock, cover skillet and simmer for 10 minutes until tomatoes have softened. In the meantime, boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al-dente (approx. 8-9 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining pasta.
- Add ⅓ cup of pasta water to skillet containing pasta sauce and simmer for another 10-12 minutes, uncovered. If the sauce starts to dry up, add more pasta water.
- Once the sauce has thickened and tomatoes are soft, stir in mascarpone and remove from heat. Toss in boiled pasta and mix to combine with sauce.
- Serve in pasta bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste.