Creamy tomato pasta on a plate with marinated kale salad.
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4.91 from 22 votes

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Recipe video above. Pasta in a pink tomato cream sauce! You'll love how creamy this sauce is, how there's plenty of it and yet you don't need gallons of cream. Slurp-worthy as it is, or use it as a base for add ins of your choice - suggestions in the recipe notes. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Western
Keyword: Creamy tomato pasta, Creamy tomato sauce, Tomato cream sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 546kcal
Author: Nagi


  • 300g/10 oz spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp / 30g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • ½ onion , finely chopped
  • 1 cup / 250 ml tomato passata / tomato puree (Note 1)
  • 3/4 cup / 185 ml heavy / thickened cream (Note 2 for subs)
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml milk , low fat
  • 3/4 cup / 30g parmesan , finely freshly grated (Note 3)
  • 1 tsp dried basil, or other herb of choice
  • 1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder , or 1 bouillon cube, crumbled (Note 4)
  • Finely ground pepper + salt


  • Cook pasta in a big pot of boiling water for time per packet MINUS 2 minutes. Just before draining, scoop out a mugful of pasta cooking water.
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent - about 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Stir until parmesan is melted. Turn heat up slightly and simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Add pasta. Toss for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and is clinging to pasta instead of swimming on the base of the skillet (video shows this well). Use reserved pasta cooking water if required to thin the sauce out if it gets too thick.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with more parmesan and parsley if desired.


1. Tomato Passata, known as Tomato Puree in America, is pureed strained tomatoes that is sold in tall bottles. It's 100% tomato, no additives or flavourings. It's smoother than crushed tomatoes and makes gorgeous thick tomato based sauces. In Australia, you'll find it in the pasta section in supermarkets and it costs around the same as canned tomato. Passata is not the same as tomato paste which is a concentrate.
American canned Tomato Sauce (Hunts etc) is a suitable substitute, or your favourite tomato pasta sauce (use 1 cup). Canned crushed or finely diced tomato can also be used but you'll need 1 x 400g/14oz can, add it first and cook down for 5 minutes before adding milk, cream etc.
2. The sauce thickness mostly comes from the passata so this recipe could actually be made with just milk, no cream, for a healthier alternative though you will miss the richness that cream brings to the sauce. You could also use evaporated milk, again for a healthier alternative. If you want to add richness to the sauce, add extra butter!
3. Don't try this with store bought grated parmesan as most don't melt properly in the sauce.
4. Stock powder brings more flavour to the sauce than just using salt. If you don't have it, I would add an extra 1/4 - 1/2 cup parmesan.
5. ADD-IN SUGGESTIONS: Shrimp/prawns, BACON, pancetta, chicken, turkey, diced or sliced capsicum / bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, grated zucchini. For prawns/shrimp and whole chicken pieces (breast, thigh), cook it first then take it out, cut chicken then toss back in later with pasta. For chopped chicken, bacon, pancetta and vegetables, add them when the onion is partway cooked, then proceed with recipe. Stir through delicate vegetables like baby spinach into the sauce with the pasta.
Don't go overboard with the add-ins otherwise you might not have enough sauce! 
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings.


Serving: 284g | Calories: 546kcal