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Blushing Penne Pasta

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
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pot.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 335 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 431mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 12g protein.
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Reviews

Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • KatharineLHiddink
    Jun 2, 2020

    I rated this a four because it was a great inspiration and I loved the basic sauce part of the recipe. I did however omit the basil and thyme and added oregano and garlic instead. I also added pancetta, mushrooms and spinach to the sauce and it was amazing! I agree with Kim as the sauce to pasta ration was a bit off so I also made less pasta for this amount of sauce. It was only for my husband and myself so it worked out fine. If I were to be serving to more than two, I would just double the recipe. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Kim
    May 14, 2020

    We loved it, I agree with the other reviews that a little less thyme. Only problem I had is the sauce to pasta ratio, I took out a large amount of pasta before adding sauce and could have still done with a little more sauce to look like the picture.

  • MorninginMay
    Nov 28, 2018

    I added ground sirloin, garlic, oregano, whole cream, and Vodka!!! Couldn't imagine making this without garlic!! The original recipe, I'm guessing, had whole cream instead of the half and half, and Vodka instead of the chicken broth or white wine. I only gave that recipe three stars, but I would sure give my revised version Five Stars!!!

  • cw0855
    Sep 30, 2018

    Sounds good in principle, but where is the GarLiC???? A meet less pasta dish with no garlic??? Crazy. Substitute thyme with oregano. Throw in some mushrooms. Recipes like this should not even be printed

  • robbrd
    May 30, 2018

    This was a simple recipe that came together quickly. The sauce stuck very well to the penne but it was too thick for most of family's taste. While everyone ate it, it was dubbed "different" and "weird but still good" from the kids. Ultimately, I think it comes down to this was not a different pasta dish than they are accustomed to. I served it with grilled chicken and salad and everyone was content.

  • travel6188
    May 27, 2018

    Incredibly bland. Even red pepper flakes didn't help. So disappointed - it looked so good.

  • dlynsmith9
    May 18, 2018

    This was a very easy and delicious recipe. I used leftover pork roast, because my husband wanted meat. He really liked it.

  • cinderbe
    Jan 31, 2018

    Can I use milk instead of the half and half cream?

  • Pattie623
    Oct 25, 2017

    Very Tasty. I added pieces of cooked boneless chicken tenderloins. A keeper as is but I agree with other reviews that the thyme is slightly strong for our taste. Next time I will use less thyme. We would also prefer a little more sauce. I plan on making this next time with the extra sauce and adding sun dried tomatoes and black olives. Another review suggests "adding a can of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese then bake it just a bit to melt the cheese" I will try it that way also. Thank you Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California for a great fast recipe!

  • Pattie623
    Oct 25, 2017

    Very Tasty. I added pieces of cooked boneless chicken tenderloins. A keeper as is but I agree with other reviews that the thyme is slightly strong for our taste. Next time I will use less thyme. We would also prefer a little more sauce. I plan on making this next time with the extra sauce and adding sun dried tomatoes and black olives. Another review suggests "adding a can of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese then bake it just a bit to melt the cheese" I will tryn it that way also. Thank you Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California for a great fast recipe!