Creamy One Pot Pasta with Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce is big on flavor and ready in 35 minutes. Penne pasta and silky mascarpone cheese in a rich tomato marinara creates the ultimate creamy veggie pasta recipe. Share with Vegetarian Kale Caesar Salad to complete the meal. This recipe is vegetarian.
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Highlights of One Pot Pasta with Tomato Mascarpone Sauce
We’ve Nora Singley to thank for bringing us the genius of one pot pasta via Martha Stewart Living in 2013 (Food52). It was a revelation in my cooking years ago.
Although this recipe for tomato and mascarpone sauce pasta strays from the original one pot pasta recipe, I was inspired by Nora’s simple method and applied it here.
This Creamy Veggie Pasta Is:
- SO creamy (!!)
- easy to pull together in about 35 minutes
- made in one pot
- hearty, delicious and satisfying
- easily gluten free
If you love hearty Pasta Recipes, then you’ll enjoy this one pot pasta.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Olive Oil – use extra virgin for best flavor.
- Shallots – delicate and slightly sweet in flavor, they add interest and depth to this tomato and mascarpone pasta.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves – you’ll need about 3 plump cloves, minced.
- San Marzano Style Tomatoes – these are peeled, canned whole plum tomatoes. They have fewer seeds and are less acidic than other canned tomatoes making them a good choice for this pasta sauce with mascarpone.
- Tomato Paste – adds a boost of umami flavor and richness. It also thickens the mascarpone tomato sauce.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes add freshness and interest.
- Pasta – I use penne pasta for this recipe. Other types of pasta may be used, but the cook time will need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the pasta. You can use gluten-free pasta; however, cook it separately from the tomato sauce, then add the pasta and some pasta cooking water to the sauce, adjusted to desired consistency.
- Fresh Spinach – stir spinach in towards the end of cooking, just to wilt. Use baby spinach or if you have larger leaves, give them a chop before stirring into the pasta.
- Mascarpone Cheese – (mahs-car-POH-nay) this ultra silky and creamy cows milk Italian cheese is rich with a slightly sweet flavor that pairs well in both savory or sweet recipes (like tiramisu or my Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Mascarpone Icing). It melts easy in sauce recipes, making it ideal for this mascarpone tomato pasta.
- Things for Garnish – this creamy tomato sauce is a perfect partner with fresh basil leaves, ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
Quick Guide: How to Make Creamy Veggie Pasta with Tomato Mascarpone Sauce
This recipe can be made in a 3.5 – 4 quart Dutch oven or saute pan. You’ll need to give yourself enough room to stir the sauce, pasta and for wilting the spinach. In summary, here’s how to make this one pot pasta with mascarpone and tomato sauce (see recipe card for details):
- First: in a saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil. Once the shallots are softened and the garlic slightly golden, you’ll add the tomato paste and saute just a few minutes until it turns slightly darker. Sprinkle in the seasonings.
- Second: crush the tomatoes with your hands or potato masher, then pour into the pan. Add the water, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
- Next: stir in the pasta and simmer until pasta is aldente.
- Last: stir in the mascarpone, then add fresh spinach in a few batches, wilting each batch before adding another.
- Extra Spicy: for a spicy pasta sauce, sprinkle in a bit more red pepper flake.
- Other Pasta Shapes: You can use other pasta shapes, however cooking time will vary depending how how thick/thin walled the pasta is. We’ve enjoyed this recipe with Penne (pictured) and Strozzapreti pasta.
- Add Vegetarian Sausage: We love this recipe with veggie sausage. Our favorite is Seattle Field Roast Italian Garlic and Fennel. I cook it in a skillet first, then add it to the finished pasta.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use your favorite gluten free pasta, making sure to cook it separate from the tomato mascarpone pasta sauce, then add it to the sauce once the pasta is cooked. Save some pasta cooking liquid and drizzle it into the sauce to reach desired creamy consistency.
- Dairy Free: while I’ve not tried it, you could give vegan cream cheese and vegan Parmesan a go.
- Keep it Movin: while the pasta cooks, be sure to stir it frequently, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent any pasta from sticking.
- Where to Find Mascarpone Cheese: look for this creamy cheese in the deli or specialty cheese sections of your well stocked grocery store. It generally comes in 8 ounce tubs. I like BelGioioso Mascarpone and Vermont Creamery Mascarpone.
- Freezer Friendly: This recipe freezes with ease, but the pasta softens upon reheat and tears easily which impacts its texture. While you can freeze this recipe, manage expectations with regards to texture.
More Veggie Pasta Recipes to Try
35-Minute One Pot Pasta with Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup (35 grams) Shallot finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Fresh Garlic minced, about 3 plump cloves
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 28 ounces (794 grams) San Marzano Style Tomatoes canned, whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 3/4 cups (385 grams) Water
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 8 ounces (230 grams) Penne Pasta
- 2/3 cup (5 ounces / 140 grams) Mascarpone Cheese
- 5 cups (5 ounces / 140 grams) Fresh Spinach lightly packed, large leaves chopped
- Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Basil, Ground Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
- In a 3.5 quart saute pan or 4 quart Dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in the shallots and garlic. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, OR until shallots are soft and garlic is slightly golden and fragrant.
- Meanwhile, empty the tomatoes into a bowl and either crush the tomatoes by squeezing them with your hands or mash with a potato masher until broken down into smaller bits. Set aside.
- To the shallots and garlic, add the tomato paste, stirring and mashing frequently for about 3 minutes, or until slightly darker in color. Sprinkle in the Italian seasoning, red pepper flake and salt. Stir.
- Pour the tomatoes and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the penne, adjust the heat to simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until aldente, about 11-14 minutes. It will seem almost soupy, but will thicken as the remaining ingredients are added.
- Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese until completely melted. Return to low heat and stir in the spinach, adding one handful after another stirring until wilted. Taste for salt adjustment.
- Spoon into bowls and serve with fresh grated Parmesan, torn basil leaves and fresh ground black pepper.
- To Store: Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Gently reheat stove top. You can freeze this recipe, however, the pasta looses its firmness and breaks easily.