How to make the perfect penne pasta with creamy tomato pink sauce

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With much of the world on pause, now is a great time to brush up on some cooking skills. 

Food blogger and home chef Caitlin Sakdalan of Be Fat Be Happy taught In The Know how to make the perfect penne pasta with a creamy tomato pink sauce. She also dished on some pasta-related audience questions. 

First, she brought water to a boil in a Gotham Steel Multipurpose Pasta Pot

“In The Know users always ask, ‘What is the trick to keep pasta from clumping in the water?'” Sakdalan said. “Part of it is having a big enough pot and the second part is having enough water.” 

She recommended one gallon of water per pound of pasta to prevent clumping. 

When the water was done boiling she added a generous amount of salt, enough to make her lips pucker a bit. Then she added the pasta. 

“The best type of sauce for a penne pasta is something a little bit thicker, like this creamy, luscious tomato pink sauce that we’re making,” she explained. “[With] a more thin pasta like linguine we want something a little bit more delicate and light.” 

While the pasta was cooking, Sakdalan got started on the creamy tomato pink sauce. She combined olive oil, a dash of butter and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. 

Once the butter was melted, she added chopped onions, tomato paste and garlic. Then she put in a little bit of leftover red wine, which created richness in the tomato sauce. Lastly, she added some heavy cream, a pinch of salt and pepper. 

“In The Know users [have also asked] how to cook pasta to the perfect al dente texture without it coming overdone,” Sakdalan said. “What you have to do is check your pasta regularly and stir it around so that it cooks evenly.

“Remember that the water is hot, so as soon as you take it off of the burner it’s still cooking. So you want to strain your pasta immediately,” she added.

Sakdalan combined the cooked penne and sauce. She doused it in a little bit of leftover pasta water. 

“Which is super important because it has flavor and starch that will thin out the sauce and it’ll also help coat the pasta so that the sauce really hugs it,” she said.

For the finishing touches, she added umami with basil leaves on top. After stirring the pasta a bit, it was ready to serve.

“It’s creamy, it’s rich and it’s super easy to make,” Sakdalan said after taking a bite. 

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If you liked this story, check out our review of Popeyes’ new crispy fish sandwich.

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