Luxurious, comforting mascarpone pasta. Quick and easy-to-make tomato and mascarpone sauce ready in no time at all.
I make a thick and rich tomato mascarpone sauce every time I happen to have some leftover Italian cream cheese in the fridge. Cook some noodles while the sauce simmers, and you’ll have a delicious dinner ready in about 20 minutes. A dinner that your family will adore! Especially the kids.
What’s so great about this mascarpone pasta sauce?
- Time: it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook the dish, mainly if you use canned tomatoes, which are already chopped. Cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering.
- Comforting: the sauce is rich and incredibly satisfying, the cheese mellows the acidity of the tomatoes, it all melts down in a sauce I could gulp down as it is!
- Use of leftovers: as mentioned above, I often cook this recipe when I have leftover mascarpone in the fridge. If there are five or only three tablespoons left in the tube, all fine, I am not that strict about that. I might add an extra tablespoon of plain cream cheese or a splash of milk if I think I don’t have enough of the Italian cream cheese.
- It’s also a great recipe for using up tomatoes. I often buy too many and have them getting old in the bowl. This recipe offers the perfect opportunity to use them.
- Versatile: swap the Italian cheese for full-fat cream cheese; it’s delicious as well.
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What do you need for tomato and mascarpone sauce?
- Fresh or canned.
- If using fresh, you can peel them if you find the peel disturbing. I never do though, it doesn’t bother us, and the skin maximizes the health properties of tomatoes.
- I like adding a few fresh basil leaves when cooking any tomato sauce. See this Hearty Marinara Sauce, for example. Remove the cooked sprigs from the pot before mixing the sauce with the pasta. Then, chop the remaining fresh basil and add it to the dish before serving.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried Italian herbs or a mixture of dried basil, thyme, rosemary, and so on.
- Other ingredients: noodles (any shape you like), olive oil, shallot, garlic, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
How to peel tomatoes?
Wash them well and slice a shallow X into their bottoms. Bring the noodle water to a rolling boil. Carefully place the tomatoes into the boiling water, about 3 or 4 at a time. Boil them for about 25 seconds, no longer, or they will begin to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water (or you can place them in a bowl of ice water). Next, remove the peel with a small knife starting at the X and pulling the skin back. You can now start cooking the pasta in the same water.
How to make mascarpone pasta?
- Set the noodles water on the hob. As soon as the water boils, add salt and pasta. Cook al dente (according to packet instructions). Drain when cooked.
- In the meanwhile, make the sauce.
- Cook the finely chopped shallot and garlic until they are softer.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, sugar, a little salt, and pepper. Stir well.
- Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add cream cheese and balsamic vinegar, stir well and simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Adjust the taste with more balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Remove the basil leaves, add the remaining fresh chopped ones.
- Stir the sauce with the cooked noodles.
The super-fast version of the recipe:
Use your favorite brand of marinara sauce, preferably something a bit chunkier. Heat it well and add Italian cream cheese and chopped basil.
How else to use the sauce?
Serve with rice or over polenta. It is also delicious with chicken, fish, meatloaf, or meatballs.
Make ahead and store
The tomato and mascarpone sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for about 3-5 days. Then, reheat gently on the stovetop and mix with freshly cooked pasta.
Leftovers of sauce already mixed with pasta keep well in the fridge for about three days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, use a non-stick pot and add a good splash of milk. Stir gently but frequently.
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Mascarpone Pasta (Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce)
- 1 lb pasta any shape
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot or ½ small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1.3 lb tomatoes fresh or canned
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 sprigs basil leaves divided (Note 1)
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone Note 2
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar more to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste
- Pasta: Bring the pasta water to a boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook al dente (according to packet instructions). Drain when cooked.
- In the meanwhile, make the sauce.
- Chop the shallot and the garlic finely. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them (you can peel them first if desired – Note 3). Set aside separately.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the chopped onions and garlic until they are softer about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, sugar, a little salt, and pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add mascarpone and balsamic vinegar, stir well and simmer for another 2 minutes. Adjust the taste with more balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove the basil leaves, add the remaining fresh chopped ones.
- Mix the mascarpone sauce with the cooked pasta.
- Sub with about 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs or a mixture of dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
- Sub with the same amount of full-fat cream cheese.
- Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling pasta water before adding the salt and before cooking the pasta. After removing the blanched tomatoes with a slotted spoon, you can use the water for cooking the pasta. First, wash the tomatoes and slice a shallow X into their bottoms. Then, carefully place the tomatoes into the boiling water, about 3 or 4 at a time. Boil them for about 25 seconds, no longer, or they will begin to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water (or you can place them in a bowl of ice water). Next, remove the peel with a small knife starting at the X and pulling the skin back. You can now start cooking the pasta in the same water.