Sunday, August 24, 2014

Penne Rosa – A Noodles and Company recipe

Noodles and Company is one of our favorite places to grab a quick lunch when we have a busy weekend.  I especially like to do a take-out from there because they have the best take-out containers!

My kids’ favorite dish at Noodles is Penne Rosa.  According to Noodles and Co, this is one of their most popular dishes.  It seems like such a simple thing to make that I started looking for copy-cat recipes online.  Imagine my surprise when I found a video demo of this dish by one of the founding chefs -  Ross Kamens.  I was truly amazed by the simplicity of this dish and decided to try it out.

I had a few of the ingredients at home, but needed to get cream and cooking wine.  Got everything together and decided to make it for the first time at my friend’s place.  Her kids love this dish too and I was really excited about showing off my newly acquired penne rosa making skills.

Since it only takes about 5 minutes to make if you already have cooked the pasta, I made it in batches.  The first batch looked great!  I plated it beautifully and stood back, waiting for the kids to taste it and shower me with praise.  The first kid took one forkful and tasted it – no comment.  Then another one took his first bite and looked at me without saying anything.  So I asked them.  Here is what they said – “Meena Aunty, it looks like Penne Rosa and tastes good, but it does not taste like Penne Rosa.”

How did I manage to mess this up?  The recipe is so simple that it is almost impossible to get it wrong!

So I went back and looked and everything I put in it to make the pasta.  And voila!  found my mistake.  Instead of buying cooking white wine, I had bought white wine vinegar!  No wonder it tasted different!

I have made this several times since then, with the right ingredients, and am happy to report that it has come out great.

Here is what you need: - serves 2 - 3 people

  • ½ pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 roma tomato, cut into chunks
  • 3 – 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup spicy marinara sauce (I used store bought)
  • ¼ cup cooking white wine
  • red pepper flakes or chili garlic sauce (if your marinara is too bland)
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • few baby spinach leaves
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil in a pan.  Add tomatoes and mushrooms.  Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the cooked pasta.  Toss to coat everything well. 
  3. Add the marinara sauce.  If your sauce is not spicy add either the red pepper flakes or the chili garlic sauce.  Mix well. 
  4. Now add the cooking wine and toss to mix well.
  5. Let this cook for another minute or so.  Add the cream.  Toss again. 
  6. Add spinach and turn off the heat.
  7. Place this in a serving bowl.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:  Don’t make this ahead of time.  It tastes best when made fresh.  If your pasta is already cooked, this whole process only takes about 5 minutes to put together.


  1. What brand white wine is used in this dish.

  2. What brand white wine is used in this dish.

    1. I used cooking white wine - got it from Target.

  3. I came across your blog while looking for some recipes with noodles and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye on your post.
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  4. What if you don't have white wine would it still be good

  5. What if you don't have white wine would it still be good

  6. Cooking wine is terrible. I don't know of any chefs who use it. Use the real thing.

  7. Great post on "Penne Rosa – A Noodles and Company recipe". As a professional chef i have to appreciate your work. Keep Posting useful posts like this. Keep in touch with my websites- vocational cooking school | chocolate making college dubai


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