Creamy Rose Sauce is a rich and delicious tomato cream sauce. Toss it over tender pasta noodles for a hearty main course that’s easy enough for a busy weeknight, but elegant and tasty enough to serve for a date night dinner. Add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and you’ll have a restaurant quality meal at home in less than 30 minutes!

Rose sauce is one of those pasta sauces that feels fancy and refined, but is actually so easy to make. With simple pantry staples that are super easy to get your hands on, anyone can make a flavorful pasta sauce!

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This sauce recipe turns out creamy, peppery, and tangy. The vodka is optional, but adds great flavor to this dish and balances the tomato and the heavy cream. Don’t worry, you’ll cook it long enough that the alcohol is cooked right out! When you’re craving something other than classic marinara, this is such a tasty alternative.

Why you should make this recipe

  • Creamy and full of flavor. You will love how creamy and flavorful this rose sauce comes out.
  • Easy to make. One of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is to make it with just a handful of simple ingredients. In just about 25 to 30 minutes, you will have a delicious tasting pasta meal on your table for the family.
  • Versatile dish. You can keep this dish vegetarian and make it as is, or you can get as creative as you like by adding any protein of choice or veggies like spinach and mushrooms.
Penne pasta in a creamy tomato sauce.

Ingredients needed

This delicious creamy tomato sauce has tons of wonderful flavors thanks to the combination of a sautéed shallot + garlic, tomato paste, vodka, heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Pasta. Use any favorite pasta. I like to use penne pasta, but shells, bowtie, or fettuccine noodles all work. You can even substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta for added nutritional value. Use gluten free pasta, as desired.
  • Olive oil. For cooking the diced shallot and garlic and adding richness to the sauce.
  • Shallot + garlic. Adds delicious aromatic flavor. If you don’t happen to have shallot, sub with onion.
  • Tomato paste. Thickens the sauce and adds bold flavor.
  • Vodka. Totally optional, but the vodka adds great flavor to the sauce.
  • Heavy cream. Adds rich creaminess to the sauce. 
  • Butter. This gets stirred into the sauce for extra flavor and richness.
  • Parmesan cheese. For best results, use a higher quality grated or shaved parmesan, or buy a block of it and grate it yourself.
  • Salt + pepper. To bring all of the flavors together.
  • Red pepper flakes. Optional to give the sauce a nice kick of heat, if you like spice.

How to make this recipe

This rose pasta sauce is so simple to make and it comes together easily – while the pasta is boiling, you can start the sauce, then simply stir everything together. Here’s the simple method:

For the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Boil pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Once done, drain and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Once hot, add in the garlic and shallot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 additional minutes, stirring often. Stir in the vodka and then add in the cream and pepper flakes and mix to combine.
  3. Mix sauce and pasta. Stir the cooked pasta as well as ½ cup of pasta water, the butter, and parmesan cheese into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Serve. Remove from the heat and serve with basil and an extra sprinkle of parmesan. Enjoy!
Penne pasta tossed in rose sauce in a large pot.

Variations

While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can absolutely add other ingredients to use what you have available and customize the flavors to your tastes. Here’s some options:

  • Get your veggies! You can add an abundance of vegetables into this sauce, if you would like. You can use zucchini noodles, or toss in some spinach, broccoli, zucchini or kale!
  • Add protein. You can add some precooked shredded chicken into this sauce for some added protein. Or try it with chickpeas for a vegetarian, protein-packed option.
  • Use this in place of regular tomato sauce. If you love this rose sauce, then you can use this recipe in place of regular tomato sauce in all different kinds of recipes!

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of vodka in pasta sauce?

Alcohol has long been used in cooking practices for flavor. The alcohol gets cooked out and you are left with an abundance of flavor from the cooked down liquid. In this recipe, vodka adds a peppery, tangy flavor that is unlike any other! However, you can leave out the vodka and this will still taste wonderful!

What is the best type of noodle to use with rose sauce?

You want to use a noodle that will sop up the delicious sauce. I like penne since the sauce will get into the hollow parts of the noodle. But you can really use any of your favorite noodles that you would use with a regular tomato sauce. Try campanelle or bowtie for something different!

How can I make vegan rose sauce?

To make this recipe vegan, simply swap the cream for thick oat milk or (my preference) full fat coconut milk. Use a vegan butter and you could leave out the parmesan and simply add in a little nutritional yeast. HOWEVER, I would suggest picking up some vegan parmesan – Violife makes an amazing one!

Storage & reheating recommendations

  • To store. Place the prepared pasta and sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • To reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven or large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, splashing in broth, cream, almond milk, regular milk or water as needed to loosen the sauce. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
Penne pasta in a tomato sauce served in a bowl.

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

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Penne pasta served with rose sauce in a small bowl.

Rose Sauce


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Creamy Rose Sauce is a rich and delicious tomato cream sauce. Toss it over tender pasta noodles for a hearty main course that’s easy enough for a busy weeknight, but elegant and tasty enough to serve for a date night dinner.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound pasta of choice (I used penne pasta)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil*
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of vodka (optional)*
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (see note below for a vegan version!)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, optional for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Once done, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, start the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Once hot, add in the garlic and shallot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 additional minutes, stirring often.
  3. Stir in vodka and then add in the cream and pepper flakes and mix to combine.
  4. Mix in the cooked pasta as well as ½ cup of pasta water, the butter, and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve with basil + an extra sprinkle of parmesan!

Notes

  • To store. Place the prepared pasta and sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • To reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven or large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, splashing in broth, cream, almond milk, regular milk or water as needed to loosen the sauce. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american