This creamy tomato pasta recipe comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients. You'll love the silky tomato sauce!
Why you'll love it
Making a creamy tomato pasta sauce from scratch with canned tomatoes is simple! The best part is that it can be ready by the time your pasta has cooked. It's perfect for those on-the-go weeknights.
This sauce uses a can of tomato sauce for liquid, and I also add in some tomato paste to punch up that tomato flavor. Garlic, Italian seasoning, butter, and cream complete it. Add some freshly grated parmesan cheese to take it over the top!
What you'll need
- Pasta - you can use whatever pasta you've got on hand. I love penne for this sauce because those little tubes are so nicely coated.
- Butter - for sautéing
- Garlic - adds savory goodness
- Tomato paste - for concentrated tomato flavor
- Tomato sauce - I've been asked by a few UK readers what to use instead of tomato sauce, and passata would be a good equivalent
- Heavy cream - to make the sauce luxuriously creamy
- Italian seasoning - it's a great all-purpose herb blend
- Canned tomato brands can vary, and some tomatoes are more acidic than others. My favorite brands are Mutti and DeLallo. If you find the sauce is a little bit too tart, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors/enhance the sweetness of the tomatoes.
How to make creamy tomato pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté the garlic for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning until smooth.
Let the sauce gently bubble until thickened to your liking. Season generously with salt & pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if desired. Toss with the drained pasta, and top with parmesan cheese if using.
Substitutions and variations
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for half-and-half or something with less fat. The sauce is likely to curdle due to the acidity of the tomatoes.
- You could definitely change the herbs up a bit... some dried oregano or basil would work great. You could even add fresh herbs if you happen to have some.
- You could stir in some spinach or other veggies towards the end of cooking if you want to dress it up a bit.
What to serve with creamy tomato pasta
- Pair it with a salad to round out the meal. Try my 10 Minute Caesar Dressing or this homemade Italian Dressing.
- Go all out and make some Cheesy Garlic Bread to go with it.
- This sauce will actually work for other things (like over chicken or shrimp, for example), so you could skip the pasta altogether if you want! Or you could add a bit of cooked chicken/shrimp/your protein of choice to the sauce for a more filling meal.
Leftovers and storage
- You can keep this sauce in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it for up to 3 months if you've got some left over.
- I'd re-warm it over a low heat in a saucepan.
Will you give this creamy tomato pasta a try? Questions? Let me know in the comments below! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you've made one of my recipes.
Creamy Tomato Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving, to taste
- Boil a large, salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile (once the pasta starts to cook), add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning. Stir until it's nice and smooth. Let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes or until it's thickened to your liking (it should be very gently bubbling, so you may need to turn down the heat).
- Season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed (I'm pretty generous with both). If the sauce is a little too acidic/tangy for your liking, add in a pinch of sugar.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce (add a splash of hot pasta water if the sauce gets too thick). Serve immediately with plenty of parmesan cheese over top.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream with something that has a lower fat content as it's likely to curdle due to the acid in the tomatoes.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.