Turn a basic jar of marinara sauce into the most delicious rosa sauce for pasta. It comes together effortlessly and is ready in under 30 minutes, making it a menu staple for busy families.
So. Before I get into all things rosa sauce, I wanted to share what happened last Friday. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed I attended my first blogger conference ever. And it was a food blogger conference! Chopped Conference 2014 (or #ChoppedCon14) was a one-day and the-place-to-be event in Kansas City. It was organized by Marly of Namely Marly and many helpers, and oh goodness, they did a phenomenal job. The River Market Event Place was the perfect venue, the atmosphere was low-key and inclusive, the sponsors were so kind and generous, and the speakers. The speakers! Can I say that I’m still a little starstruck? Because I totally am! Not even ashamed to say that.
And I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous. Going in, I didn’t know a soul there. Leaving, I wondered what in the heck I was so worried about. Food bloggers are the nicest people around. I enjoyed getting to meet Sharmin of What You’re Missing KC!, La’Shonda of Fashion Plate KC, Sarah of Real Food & Ice Cream, Jessica of Saucy Pear, Jennifer of Crockpot Gourmet, Melissa of Bless This Mess, Philia of Sweet Phi, Janelle of Bakes in Slippers, Carolyn O’Neil of O’Neil on Eating (for real!), Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats (eeee!), Christina of Dessert for Two (major squeal!), and so many others while in line for lunch and Torani beverages (omg!). It was such an information-packed, inspiring day!
Now for Penne Rosa Pasta. Weeknights are crazy around our house. As soon as we pick up the boys from daycare until the time they go to bed, it just. doesn’t. stop. The boys are always staaaaaaarving and want a snack right away. Backpacks are cleaned out and papers are signed, filed, or thrown. Artwork is displayed. Mail is sorted (why is there so much junk mail?). Wrestling matches are refereed (the boys can go from “fun wrestling” to little-brother-is-sitting-on-big-brother’s-head wrestling in a matter of seconds). Oh. And dinner is made.
This Penne Rosa Pasta is everything a weeknight meal should be. Easy. Check. Ready in under 30 minutes. Check. Hearty and delicious. Checkity-check. What I like most about this recipe is that an ingredient like plain ol’ jarred marinara is transformed into a flavor-filled sauce that almost seems magical. Homemade it’s not, but it sure tastes like it is.
The recipe is super straight-forward, but it does allow for some flexibility. Rather not use fresh mushrooms? No problem, jarred ones are fine to use. Prefer to omit the spinach? You totally could. (The spinach is an excellent addition. Just sayin’.) Crushed red pepper? The amount can be adjusted in either direction. My family likes the little heat this sauce provides. I think it balances the sweet tang of the marinara sauce well. If you’re tongue’s sensitive, by all means, scale the amount back.
Most cream-based sauces call for, well, cream. I used evaporated milk in this rosa sauce, and you’d never know. Seriously. It adds the creaminess I want without those calories. Evaporated milk for the win!
See what I mean when I say this Penne Rosa Pasta is the best weeknight meal? Pair it with a salad, and dinner is covered. Because it comes together so quickly, I have found that I get more time to referee those wrestling matches. And it’s mostly all fun and games until they go after me!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1½ cups fresh white mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce
- ½ cup low fat 2% evaporated milk
- 15 oz. can Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
- ½ tsp. (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 16 oz. penne (or other) pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- In large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat, about 7 minutes.
- Add garlic to skillet and continue cooking over medium heat for 2 more minutes.
- Add marinara sauce, evaporated milk, diced tomatoes, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil.
- Turn heat to low, and add the spinach. Stir occasionally until spinach becomes wilted.
- Serve rosa sauce on top of pasta or add rosa sauce to pot and stir to coat pasta.
- Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe adapted from Oh So Delicioso.