Blushing Penne Pasta Recipe
Blushing Penne Pasta Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Blushing Penne Pasta Recipe

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4.5 15 25
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Margaret Wilson reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. Her friends and family in Hemet, California have a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light.
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 335 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 431mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 12g protein.


  1. In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium heat; saute onion until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add herbs and salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Add 1 cup cream, wine and tomato paste; cook and stir until blended.
  3. Mix flour and remaining cream until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Stir into pasta. Serve with remaining cheese. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Blushing Penne Pasta in Light & Tasty December/January 2007, p47

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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rllewis7 User ID: 7124309 232031
Reviewed Aug. 30, 2015

"I am not a big fan of tomato based sauces, so for me, this was the perfect balance of flavors. With some added chopped chicken, this is a recipe I will make again and again."

cbenne12 User ID: 7424916 161136
Reviewed Feb. 19, 2014

"My husband and I love this recipe! So simple and quick to make when on the run!"

Jillette12 User ID: 7344326 146692
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2013

"I thought the thyme was a little strong, but I would definitely make it again, just back off on that. Whole family liked it!"

MVPhelan User ID: 1073981 161531
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2013

"This is my family's favorite meal. It's the requested birthday dinner for my husband and daughter. I make it a lot when we have company over. I use more tomato paste than the recipe calls for. It's also great with shrimp or chicken added to it."

pixie9999 User ID: 2561170 115907
Reviewed Jan. 9, 2012

"Cheesy goodness. Very similar to a dish I loved in a restraunt. I like to add a can of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese then bake it just a bit to melt the cheese."

Carol39110 User ID: 1932804 167317
Reviewed Nov. 11, 2011

"This is company-worthy."

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 208386
Reviewed Nov. 10, 2011

"Delicious! And my kids couldn't wait to get home from school the next day to have the leftovers for snack!"

mtorres3 User ID: 1346747 93881
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2011

"My family loved this! The sauce is rich and creamy and so easy to make. This is a keeper! Thanks fo the recipe."

quoteme08043 User ID: 3005402 161207
Reviewed Mar. 3, 2011

"it just missed. Too much srong thyme flavor overpowered the subtle blush of the sauce. A bit thick as well, and I used fat free half and half."

dverzic User ID: 762717 115904
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2010

"I thought this was pretty good. Didn't have fresh herbs, so I used dry. It's probably better with fresh though. I also added precooked chicken, and subbed some of the salt with garlic salt."

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