Blushing Penne Pasta

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


8 servings

Updated: Sep. 14, 2023
I reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. My friends and family had a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.


  • 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


  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 1/2 cup 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 1/4 cup cheese.

Nutrition Facts

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