If you are looking for some easy-peasy Pasta Recipes with some specific sauces, this Red Sauce Pasta is what you should begin with. This lovely pasta dish is a delicious recipe of pasta (macaroni here) and mixed vegetables in a lovely homemade tangy and bright tomato sauce. You can even make this Red Pasta or Tomato Pasta without the veggies. This recipe is vegetarian and is especially good for kids who like pasta, but refuse to consume vegetables.
Table of Contents
About Red Sauce Pasta
Red Sauce Pasta is a popular pasta variant made with a bright, tangy homemade tomato sauce. This tomato based sauce is usually made by sautéing onions & garlic in olive oil to which fresh or canned tomatoes or tomato puree is added.
The ingredients are further cooked until the sauce thickens. This red sauce is later flavored with herbs like basil, parsley, thyme or oregano and spices like black pepper or red chilli flakes.
My recipe has some mixed vegetables and button mushrooms in it. You can opt to prepare this Red Sauce Pasta recipe with or without vegetables and also feel free to exclude the mushrooms.
It tastes great, whichever way you want to make it. I like to add the vegetables as they give a good taste, texture and also increase the nutrition factor.
This Red Sauce Pasta is so tasty you will want to keep on making it often. Cooking the pasta, sauce and vegetables, all together takes some time. However, this particular recipe is not difficult and can be done easily, without any hassle.
But, if you are looking for a quicker meal, you can prepare the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it. This recipe is vegetarian but you can opt to make it vegan if you do not add cheese.
I worked on this recipe of Red Sauce Pasta on those many requests that I had been getting from my readers. Since pasta dishes are equally a favorite with the kids as well as grown-ups, it was not surprising for me to receive so many requests for the same.
In addition to this Red Pasta, you will find more pasta recipes on this blog. Anyway, I also aim to continue adding more varieties of pasta recipes here.
Red Pasta Essentials
This recipe of Red Sauce Pasta will help you dish out a really nice and comforting dish for your loved ones. While the recipe is a basic guide that you can refer to for making the dish, here are some of the ingredients/elements that are quite a must for this recipe.
1. Red Sauce: As I have mentioned above the homemade sauce for this Red Sauce Pasta is made with fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Since tomatoes are the main ingredient, be sure to use the ones which are ripe, red and less tangy.
I have used fresh basil leaves as the main herb in the sauce. If you are making this pasta only for yourself or grown-ups, then you can add white or red wine in it. Otherwise, skip if making for kids. You can use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead.
2. Pasta: For the pasta, you can use semolina or whole wheat pasta. Also, you can use spaghetti, penne, fusilli, farfalle, shell pasta or any other variety you prefer. In my recipe of Red Pasta, I have added macaroni.
3. Vegetables: For the veggies, I have used a mix of cauliflower florets, carrots and potatoes. I have also added some sweet corn. Green peas work well, instead of sweet corn or you can do a mix of both.
The mushrooms and capsicum (bell peppers) used in this recipe are sautéed in the pasta sauce. Alternatively, you can even steam or sauté the mushrooms and peppers separately. Also instead of steaming, you can opt to roast/grill or sauté the veggies and mushrooms.
If you do not use mushrooms or capsicum, then just prepare the tomato sauce and add the steamed veggies at the end.
4. Toppings: The Red Pasta can be served with a topping of grated cheese and finely chopped fresh herbs. For the cheese, add cheddar cheese, processed cheese, mozzarella cheese or vegetarian parmesan cheese. For the herbs use fresh soft herbs like parsley, thyme, coriander leaves (cilantro), mint or basil.
How to Make Red Sauce Pasta
Prepare Veggies and Cook Pasta
1. First, steam or cook 1 cup mix chopped vegetables until they are cooked and tender. They should not be over cooked.
You can steam or cook them in a stovetop pressure cooker for 1 whistle adding water as needed or steam in a steamer pan. You can even steam them in an Instant Pot for 10 minutes. Keep aside.
2. Heat 2.5 cups water with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon oil in a pan until the water comes to a boil.
3. Then, add 100 grams or 1 cup pasta.
4. On medium to high heat, begin to cook the pasta.
5. Cook pasta until al dente or you can opt to cook them until they are completely done.
6. Then, strain the pasta using a colander or strainer. Keep aside.
Make Red Sauce
7. In a food chopper, food processor, mixer or blender, crush 2 large tomatoes (220 grams) to a puree. Keep aside.
8. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, wok or kadai. Add 1 small to medium bay leaf or tej patta and 4 small to medium finely chopped garlic cloves.
Sauté for some seconds or until the raw aroma of garlic goes away. No need to brown the garlic.
9. Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions.
10. Begin to sauté the onions on low to medium heat.
11. Sauté onions till translucent.
12. Then, add the prepared tomato puree. If using store bought tomato puree, add 1 cup of it.
13. Mix well and begin to sauté the mixture.
14. Stir at intervals and sauté until you see the oil leaving the sides and the sauce has thickened a bit. This means that the tomato puree has cooked.
Add Mushrooms and Capsicum
15. Next, add 1.25 cups chopped button mushrooms.
16. Mix very well.
17. Sauté for 6 to 7 minutes on low to medium heat.
18. Next, add ⅓ cup chopped capsicum (green bell pepper). Mix well.
19. Sauté the capsicum on low to medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. By now the capsicum will be half cooked and the mushrooms will be cooked.
20. Add ½ teaspoon sugar or as required.
21. Then, add ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg powder and ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
22. Next, add salt as per taste. Mix very well. If using wine, then you can add 1 tablespoon white or red wine at this stage.
Instead of wine, you can also add ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Make Red Sauce Pasta
23. Now, add the steamed vegetables and ⅓ cup steamed sweet corn kernels in the sauce.
24. Then, add the cooked pasta.
25. Gently toss and mix everything very well, so that the red sauce coats the pasta as well as the vegetables. At this step, you can also add some cream or grated cheese.
After mixing if the pasta looks dry to you, add in a splash of water and mix thoroughly.
26. Turn off the heat. Add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves or your preferred herbs. Mix well.
27. Serve Red Sauce Pasta hot or warm. This pasta tastes good even when served at room temperature.
While serving, you can garnish with some grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, processed or vegetarian parmesan) and fresh herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro and thyme.
- This Red Sauce Pasta is not specifically an Indian Style Pasta Recipe. So, feel free to use a combination of herbs and vegetables that you like.
- Make sure you are not over steaming or over cooking the vegetables. They should not become mushy or too soft.
- Use tomatoes which are ripe, red and less sour. You can also use readymade tomato puree in this recipe.
- If you want, you can skip adding the vegetables all-together or add veggies of your choice. The tomato sauce with just the pasta also tastes good.
- For the pasta, you can use semolina or whole wheat pasta. And any variety of pasta of your choice – macaroni, penne, spaghetti, farfalle, fusilli, etc.
- This dish can be made with any neutral tasting oil and even butter, in place of olive oil.
- You can add fresh or dried herbs of your choice. Use dried basil, if you do not have fresh basil leaves.
- You can make the recipe completely vegan by skipping cheese or cream for garnish or using a plant based cheese.
- If adding wine in this recipe, you can either use red or white wine. Instead of wine, you can also add red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Red Sauce Pasta (Red Pasta)
For cooking pasta
- 1 cup pasta (macaroni) – 100 grams, use any pasta
- 2.5 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon oil
Veggies to be added
- 1 cup mixed vegetables – chopped, like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans etc
- ⅓ cup corn kernels – boiled steamed or swap with steamed/boiled green peas
- 1.25 cups white button mushrooms – chopped
- ⅓ cup capsicum – chopped (green bell pepper)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil – can use butter or any other neutral tasting oil instead
- 1 tej patta – small to medium-sized or 1 small bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves – small to medium, peeled and finely chopped
- ⅓ cup onions – finely chopped – 60 grams or 1 medium-sized
- 2 cups tomatoes – chopped – 220 grams or 2 large tomatoes or 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ teaspoon sugar or add as required
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder (ground nutmeg) or grated nutmeg
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder (ground black pepper) or add as required
- salt as required
- 1 tablespoon red wine or white wine, optional
- 2 to 3 basil leaves – chopped
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese – grated, for garnish or add preferred cheese, optional
- Firstly steam or cook 1 cup of the mixed chopped vegetables till they are softened and fork tender. They should not be over cooked. You can steam or cook them in a pressure cooker for 1 whistle or steam in a steamer pan adding water as needed.
- For the veggies I have used a mix of cauliflower florets, carrots and potatoes. I have also added some sweet corn (⅓ cup). You can also add some green peas instead of sweet corn or a mix of both.
- Heat 2.5 cups water, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon oil in a pan till the water comes to a boil.
- Then add the macaroni pasta or your preferred pasta variety.
- On a medium to high heat cook till the pasta are al dente or you can opt to cook them more until they are soft, but do not overcook them.
- Then in a colander or strainer, strain the pasta and set aside.
Making red sauce
- In a food chopper, food processor or in a mixer or blender, crush 2 large tomatoes (220 grams) to a fine puree. Keep aside. There is no need to blanch the tomatoes before pureeing them.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan or wok or frying pan or sauté pan. Add the bay leaf or tej patta and finely chopped or minced garlic.
- Sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of garlic goes away. No need to brown the garlic.
- Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions and begin to sauté the onions on a low to medium heat.
- Sauté till the onions turn translucent and are softened.
- Then add the prepared tomato puree. If using ready store brought tomato puree, then add 1 cup of it.
- Mix very well and begin to sauté the red sauce mixture.
- Stir at intervals and sauté till you see the oil leaving the sides and the sauce has thickened a bit. This means that the tomato puree has cooked.
- Then add the chopped button mushrooms.
- Mix very well and saute for 6 to 7 minutes on a low to medium heat.
- Next add the chopped capsicum. Mix well.
- Sauté the capsicum for 4 to 5 minutes on a low to medium heat. By now the capsicum will be half cooked and the mushrooms will be cooked.
- Add ½ teaspoon sugar or as required.
- Then add ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder & ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder.
- Next add salt as per taste. Mix very well. If using white or red wine, then you can add at this step. So thus add 1 tablespoon white or red wine.
Making red sauce pasta
- Add the steamed veggies and ⅓ cup boiled sweet corn kernels.
- Then add the cooked pasta.
- Gently toss and mix everything very well, so that the red sauce coats the pasta as well as the veggies. At this step you can also opt to add some grated cheese or cream and mix.
- Lastly turn off the heat. Add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves. Mix well.
- Serve red sauce pasta hot or warm or cold. This pasta tastes good even when served at room temperature. You can garnish it with some grated cheddar cheese while serving.
- For the pasta, you can use semolina or whole wheat pasta. Opt to make the red pasta recipe with your favorite pasta. Some options are spaghetti, penne, fusilli, farfalle or shell pasta.
- Add veggies of your choice or skip them if you like. The veggies can be boiled/steamed or roasted or grilled before you add to the pasta sauce.
- Fresh or dried herbs of your choice can be added. Soft herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro (coriander leaves), mint, thyme can be added. The conversion is 1 tbsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dried herbs
- You could also use Italian seasoning or your preferred seasoning mix.
- Use dried basil, if you do not have fresh basil leaves.
- Remember to use tomatoes which are ripe, red and less tangy or sour.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Red Sauce Pasta recipe from the archives first published on November 2016 has been updated and republished on March 2023.