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

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
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 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: 336 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 445mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 12g protein


  1. Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onions in butter for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the thyme, basil and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Add 1 cup cream, wine and tomato paste; cook and stir until blended.
  2. Combine flour and remaining cream until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Drain penne; toss with sauce. Sprinkle 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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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."

Reviewed Feb. 19, 2014

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

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!"

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."

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."

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