A quick and easy pasta recipe, made with fresh tomatoes and ultra creamy mascarpone cheese. An irresistible dinner, on the table in 15 minutes!
Tomato and mascarpone has got to be one of my favourite pasta sauces in the world. Not only is it super quick to make, it only needs a few ingredients - and, of course, it tastes amazing! If you're a fan of tomato sauce, but sometimes want something a bit creamier and more luxurious, this tomato and mascarpone pasta is the perfect quick dinner.
What is in tomato and mascarpone sauce?
The above may sound like a silly question, as the two main ingredients in this tomato and mascarpone sauce are pretty obvious. But there's a bit more to it than just tomatoes and mascarpone - when you add a few tasty extras, the sauce becomes something really irresistible.
- fresh, good quality tomatoes
- creamy mascarpone cheese
- looooads of garlic
- Italian mixed herbs
- fresh basil
- plenty of salt and pepper
- and, if you like, a small spoonful of sugar, to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes
A classic combination of simple ingredients = one amazing pasta dish.
Start with a simple tomato sauce
To begin, cook down some fresh tomatoes with plenty of garlic.
Since this sauce only has a few ingredients, you need to make sure you're using really good quality tomatoes here - the deep red kind that smell like a greenhouse!
Some recipes are great to cook with cheapy, bargain tomatoes, but this sauce is not one of them.
I did, however, use lazy garlic (garlic paste), instead of peeling and mincing fresh garlic cloves. I have neither the time nor the inclination for faffing with garlic any more often than I need to (same goes for onions!).
Just cook the tomatoes and garlic in a pan until they've created a simple, chunky tomato sauce.
Add the mascarpone!
After adding some dried Italian herbs and plenty of salt and pepper, it's time for the final touches: fresh basil (or fresh parsley works well too), and a couple of good dollops of mascarpone cheese.
If you're unfamiliar with mascarpone cheese, it's a bit like cream cheese, except it's even creamier and more luxurious in texture - more similar to a thick double cream, really. It doesn't have a huge amount of flavour on its own - just that beautiful creaminess - so it's great for adding to all kinds of sauces.
As it melts into the tomato sauce, it transforms it into something truly special.
Finally, the pasta
Add some cooked pasta to the pan, and you're all done!
I love to use tagliatelle or linguine with my tomato and mascarpone sauce - I don't know why, it just feels a bit more special than something more everyday, like penne or fusilli. And this incredible sauce deserves something a bit special. You could even go all out with something as fancy as mafalde!
I'm sure Italian pasta experts would be able to tell you exactly what shape of pasta is best for this type of sauce, in order to end up with the ideal pasta:sauce ratio, but honestly, whatever you use, it will be delicious.
15 minute pasta recipe
This tomato and mascarpone sauce can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta, so the whole thing is on the table in about 15 minutes!
I do love a good 15 minute pasta recipe - even at the end of a busy day, I can manage spending 15 minutes on dinner. Just as quick as frozen pizza, and even quicker than ordering a take away.
(to be honest it usually takes me that long to even browse the menu, let alone actually waiting for delivery...)
How could I adapt this tomato and mascarpone pasta recipe?
As always, feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your own preferences!
If you want a bit more protein, add a tin of chickpeas to the pan along with the tomatoes.
You could add some chilli flakes or smoked paprika if you'd like a bit of heat, and swap the garlic for roasted garlic for a deeper flavour.
With a sauce this easy and versatile, the possibilities are endless!
How to use up leftover mascarpone cheese
This recipe only uses a couple of dollops of mascarpone - probably around half of a standard tub (the kind of tub we get here in the UK, at least). But don't let that put you off cooking this recipe, as there are loads of ways you can use up your leftover mascarpone!
- stir it through a risotto to make it extra creamy
- smear it onto puff pastry and top with sliced tomatoes, then bake
- add it to a dessert recipe, such as cheesecake, tiramisu or posset
- use it instead of cream on top of apple pie, stewed fruit, etc.
- add a few small dollops to a pizza base before baking, to make an incredible white pizza
- mix it through any other creamy sauce (e.g. creamy mushroom pasta!)
- stir it through scrambled eggs as they cook
- spread it on toast with a good drizzle of honey
Really, anywhere you'd use cream or cream cheese, try mascarpone instead! But I'd definitely start with this insanely easy tomato and mascarpone pasta. You won't regret it.
15 minute tomato and mascarpone pasta
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- 250 g (~ 9 oz) pasta (I used linguine)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 500 g (~ 1 lb) good quality tomatoes, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian mixed herbs
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Few sprigs fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- Vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated, to serve (optional)
- Boil the pasta in plenty of water until cooked al dente, then drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add the diced tomatoes and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until they've cooked right down to create a chunky tomato sauce.
- Add the mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and sugar (if using). Finally add the chopped basil and mascarpone cheese, and stir until the cheese has melted. It will create a creamy, glossy sauce.
- Transfer the drained pasta to the pan with the sauce, and mix well. Serve topped with parmesan-style cheese, if desired.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.