Pasta with Rose Sauce Recipe

May 3, 2012 by

Pasta with Rose Sauce

This post was drafted as a Spinach and Cheese Tortellini with Rose Sauce recipe, but then I started cooking the tortellini and it smelt like a pet shop and tasted like hay. I thought that was taking the plant food diet just a bit too far. I threw that out and cooked some orecchiette instead, so you can use whatever pasta you like. I don’t recommend Latina’s Spinach and Cheese Tortellini.

I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect rose sauce recipe. None of the ones I have tried (including my own attempts) have the same consistency, colour or flavour as restaurant ones.

Firstly let’s clear something up. There’s a difference between rose sauce, and tomato-cream sauces. Rose sauce is always more pink, and is made by adding tomato to cream. Tomato-cream sauces are orange, and are made by adding cream to a tomato sauce. Tomato-cream sauces are beautiful, especially the popular Penne Alla Vodka, and also a roasted red pepper cream sauce is to die for.

The ‘tomato’ you add can be tomato paste, tomato passata, or tinned tomatoes; or a combination of these. I prefer my sauce very smooth, so I usually use a combination of paste and passata if I don’t have a napolitana sauce made up. The white sauce you start with can either be just cream, a roux based sauce, or a prepared alfredo style sauce. In my first attempts, I found that using cream only made the sauce too thin, even when I tried to reduce it. If you read my Fettuccine Carbonara recipe, you’ll see that it has an egg to thicken it. The sauce definitely needs some kind of thickening agent.

If you add only a few tablespoons of tomato, it will turn a sickly kind of pink colour. What we want is something that borders on orange but is still decidedly NOT orange… if you can picture that.. It also helps to have a very good tomato sauce on hand, which I always do for my arancini.

Note that skim milk and light cream work perfectly fine in this recipe, and I’ve never had any issues.

Makes enough for 2 generous serves of pasta.

  • 25g cornflour
  • 25g butter
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 200ml cream
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (add 1 tbs of tomato paste if your sauce isn’t very strong)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh or dried pasta of your choice

My tomato sauce already has loads of garlic in it so I don’t add any extra, but you could always add it to the roux if you want more flavour.

Melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour. Whisk to make a roux. Whisking constantly, let it cook for a minute or two, then turn the heat down to low. Add in about half the milk to loosen it. Get this smooth (it should come away from the sides and basically form a roux ball), then remove it from the heat altogether. Add the rest of the milk and the cream off the heat, whisking until you have a smooth sauce. If you can’t whisk the lumps out, put it back on the heat and that should ‘melt’ the roux a bit.

Add in the tomato sauce and the parmesan, whisk to combine and season well. Put it back on the heat and whisk constantly until the sauce is your desired thickness, then turn the heat off until your pasta is ready.

Sadly my camera wouldn’t pick up the colour of the sauce accurately. The taste is finally what I was looking for, and I’m very happy with how this has turned out.

Mix the sauce with a tablespoon of the starchy pasta water and the pasta, and warm through on low heat. Add the chopped spinach at this stage.

I added a handful of finely chopped spinach to bump up my veg content, but you might like to add other vegies or some diced sauteed bacon.


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