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This creamy tomato pasta recipe comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients. You’ll love the silky tomato sauce!

You may also like my Easy Pink Sauce Pasta or Best Penne alla Vodka Recipe.

creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl

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
ingredients for creamy tomato pasta in prep bowls

Pro tip

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.

sauteing onion in a skillet and making sauce for creamy tomato pasta

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.

adding penne pasta to a skillet with creamy tomato sauce

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.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • This is the skillet I use for this pasta.
  • Easy mince garlic with one squeeze of a garlic press, and store the rest of the cloves in a garlic saver.
  • I love this butter dish because it has measurement markings right on it for ease.

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.
creamy tomato pasta in a skillet (tossed with penne)

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. 
creamy tomato pasta close-up

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 in a white bowl
4.93 from 134 votes

Creamy Tomato Pasta

This creamy tomato pasta recipe comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients. You'll love the silky tomato sauce! 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 654mg, Potassium: 569mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1383IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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340 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My kids are tired of the same ol same ol and love trying new things. This was amazing!! Will definitely make again! Thanks for this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I didn’t think I had to add salt and pepper but you definitely need to. Also I added the Parmesan cheese by a good amount to melt into the sauce and it was delicious

  3. 5 stars
    Yesterday cooked this. Cooked it again today but Added a little sugar, used avocado oil instead of butter, used half and half instead of heavy cream, used slightly less tomato sauce and a little more paste. Came out amazing. This is such a good recipe. Fast and easy and cheap.

  4. 5 stars
    Usually not into simple recipes because I find them too boring for my taste buds and am more into recipes with complex ingredients but decided to give this one a try and am surprised at how delicious it is!! Loved it and will be making it a staple!

  5. 5 stars
    Our daughter was home for spring break and asked us to make this for her. Even my husband who doesn’t like red sauce was very pleased. We added Italian sausage on top as well! I highly recommend as it’s easy to make and very tasty!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! Easy and flavorful and a hit with my kids (ages 5, 3 and 1). I used some sugar, just a little bit and will use more next time. Thank you so much!

  7. Hi
    We don’t have “canned tomato sauce” in Australia (that I know of). Are you able to tell us what it is? … or list the ingredients of it, maybe?
    Thanks!! 🙂
    Natalie

    1. Hi! I actually mention in the “what you’ll need” section of the blog post that passata is a good swap for international readers. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipe!