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Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

April 4, 2024

Tomatoes simmered with fresh basil and cream are basically all it takes to make this supremely comforting, satisfying pasta with tomato cream sauce.


pasta with tomato cream sauce in a braiser with arugula and basil and parmesan

In the Pink (Sauce)

Regular old canned tomatoes—both tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, actually—and fresh basil get the luxury treatment in this silky, rich creamy tomato sauce pasta recipe. It’s basically everything you dream about when you dream about the ideal bowl of pasta (this is a normal thing to dream about, yes?). Like our Easy Homemade SpaghettiOs, it’s hearty, it’s tomato-y, it’s basil-y, it’s a little cheesy.

homemade tomato sauce in a pan
creamy tomato sauce in a pan

Here’s What You’ll Need To Make The Easiest Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce

While we love a fresh tomato pasta as much as the next person, canned tomatoes are great, too. They’re easy to keep on-hand (they are always, always in our pantry), and they’re canned at the peak of ripeness, so they’re full of big, sweet, juicy tomato flavor. This creamy pasta recipe uses two kinds of canned tomatoes—crushed (or diced would be OK in a pinch) and canned tomato sauce. As you’ll see, together, they give this creamy tomato sauce recipe just the right texture. OK, so two types of canned tomatoes. But what else is in this pasta with tomato cream sauce recipe? You’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite pasta
  • Fresh basil
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
tomato cream sauce in a pan with basil and parmesan cheese
pasta in a pan with tomato cream sauce

How To Make Tomato Cream Sauce

This smooth and creamy pink sauce recipe is a breeze to make. Here’s how fast and simple it can be to make your pasta wishes poof into pasta reality:

  1. Simmer the canned tomatoes, oil, basil and salt for 20 minutes, or until the mixture looks nicely thick and saucy.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
  3. Stir the cream, parmesan cheese and cooked pasta into the tomato sauce and let the whole mixture simmer til it comes together into one gloriously creamy pasta potful.
  4. Serve! If you want to make it a little dressy, top it with fresh arugula, fresh cherry tomatoes—but it’ll be good without those things, too. Extra Parm to finish, though, is non-negotiable!
pasta with tomato cream sauce with cherry tomatoes and arugula in a pan

More Recipes for Pasta With Tomato Sauce

Give the people what they want! And what they want is pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. Every night. No exceptions.

Tools You’ll Need

pasta dish with tomato cream sauce arugula and parmesan
pasta dish with tomato cream sauce arugula and parmesan in a bowl

Every Night Is Pasta Night!

And nobody is complaining! Lately, we’ve been leaning hard on the ease and comfort of simple pastas like this creamy tomato pasta. You too? If you make this recipe, we’d love to hear about it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see it. Happy eating!

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Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 1029


  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni or penne
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup arugula (optional)
  • 1 cup halved, cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, set over medium heat, stir together the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, olive oil, basil and salt. When the sauce begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring often until thickened, about 18-22 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions.

  3. Add the cream and Parmesan and cook, stirring until the cheese melts into the sauce. Add in the cooked pasta and stir until pasta is coated in sauce.

  4. Divide into bowls and serve topped with additional Parmesan, fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories1029
  • Protein25 g
  • Carbohydrates116 g
  • Total Fat56 g
  • Dietary Fiber10 g
  • Cholesterol98 mg
  • sodium1689 mg
  • Total Sugars10 g

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Charlene

    Love it. Can this be frozen?

    We haven't tried freezing this one but it should be ok! We recommend thawing it in the fridge before reheating. Hope you enjoy!

  • Brandi

    Whenever I simmer (on the lowest setting) the sauce, it pops and splatters all over my stove. Is there any way to avoid this? Also, it seems that the olive oil isn’t incorporating, have I don’t something wrong?

    We love splatter screens, we recommend getting one of those for times when you're cooking something that splatters like thick sauces or frying in oil! We've never had that issue with olive oil, not sure what would cause that.

  • Laura

    Can you use half and half or greek yogurt instead of heavy cream?

    Great question! Half and Half should be a fine substitution.

  • Lily

    I love all of your recipes. Every time I make one I think it is my favorite until I try the next one.Question...I would like to make this recipe using a crockpot. I want to make the sauce in a crockpot so that when I come home from work I can just add already cooked pasta. Do you have any suggestions for how to do this? High vs low and how long to simmer for in a crock pot?Thanks!Lily

    Thank you! That's so kind. This one might be tricky to do in a Crock-Pot, because you'll simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, then add the cream, and give it another gentle simmer—in other words, it needs a little attention part way through. However, it does come together fast! You can make the sauce in just a bit longer than the time it takes to boil pasta.

  • char

    pasta with arugula is basically salad, right?! this looks amazing!

    Totally salad! I like the way you think!

  • Kate

    I have made this recipe countless times. It is a household favorite. 10/10 just make this pasta. Thank you for yet another hit recipe.

    Thanks Kate, so happy you love it and make it often!

  • Jenn

    Just made this for dinner and it was so delicious, my whole family loved it!

    Thank you Jenn, we are so glad you enjoyed it!