Marinara and Pesto are a match made in heaven. If you haven't tried these together, I bet you should. The marriage of umami tomatoes and garlicky herby pesto is so scrumptious. This is a semi-homemade recipe, and god it is amazing.
For this recipe, I use ready-made marinara and pesto sauces, to make my life easier, and meals quicker. I use Rao's Handmade Marinara, along with classic Pesto from Costco. I use this combination on my homemade pizzas, sandwiches, and lasagna too.
Penne Pasta with Marinara and Pesto Sauce
Thank you to my husband, who decided to mix marinara sauce and pesto at a pizza joint for his base sauces. I loved the sound of it so much, that I decided to give it a try. And you guys, I have never looked away! I am obsessed with this sauce!
I like to use store-bought sauces, just to get myself a head start, and put an easy and quick meal on the table.
You can find both of these sauces at Costco. I use Rao's Homemade Marinara and Kirkland's Pesto. Rao's Handmade Pasta Sauces can be expensive. But if you buy them from Costco, you get two jars of marinara sauce for the cost of one. No, this recipe is not sponsored, I just love these products.
Ingredients and Substitutions to Make This Recipe
- Penne Pasta - I am using penne pasta to make this recipe, but you can use any pasta of your choice. I would definitely use rigatoni pasta to make this recipe.
- Water - We will need about 4 to 6 quarts of water to boil the patsa.
- Marinara Sauce - A good quality Marinara Sauce will elevate this recipe. I use Rao's Handmade, other brands I like are Barilla and Ragu.
- Pesto - You can either buy store-bought pesto or make your own at home. I have a recipe for pesto on my reels on Instagram.
- Olive Oil - Use good quality cooking olive oil to make this recipe. You can also use butter.
- Shallots/Onions - The caramelized onions and shallots in this recipe bring out the sweeter undertones to this sauce, which is the best.
- Garlic - I love garlic, and this recipe speaks garlic! Don't worry it is amazing for this recipe and not overpowering.
- Mushrooms - I am using baby Bella mushrooms, but you can use any mushrooms you like. Mushrooms with Marinara add a depth of flavor and umami to this recipe.
- Mascarpone / Cream Cheese - You can use either of these cheeses. They add velvetiness texture to the sauce which makes this sauce so good. I personally like to use mascarpone cheese, but you can use cream cheese for this recipe.
- Spices - I use red chili flakes and mixed Italian seasoning for this recipe. If you don't have Italian seasoning, substitute with dried oregano
- Toppings - I like to use fresh flat leaf parsley, or cilantro and parmesan cheese.
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Marinara and Pesto Penne Pasta
- Heavy Bottom Pot
- Heavy Bottom Pan
To Cook the Penne Pasta
- 1 Lb Penne Pasta 1 box of Penne Pasta
- 4 to 6 Quarts Water
- 1.5 Tsp Salt
To Make the Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Onions Finely Chopped
- 1.5 Tbsp Garlic Minced
- 1 Tsp Mixed Italian Herbs
- 1 Tsp Red Chili Flakes
- 8-10 Baby Bella Mushrooms Sliced
- 24 Oz Rao's Marinara 1 Jar of Marinara Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Pesto
- 1/3 Cup Mascarpone Cheese You can also use whipped cream cheese
- 1 Cup Pasta Reserve Water We will reserve pasta water before straining the pasta.
- 2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley Finely Chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese Finely Shredded
- Red Chili Flakes
To Cook The Pasta
- Place a Heavy Bottom Pot on The Stove on High Flame.
- Fill 4 to 6 quarts of water. Cover it and bring it to a boil.
- Now when the water is heating up, start working on your sauce.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add salt and full box of pasta.
- Cook the pasta as per the box instructions until Al Dente.
To Make The Sauce
- On a Medium Flame, place the heavy bottom pan on the stove.
- Add olive oil and let it heat up.
- Add finely chopped onions, garlic.
- Once the onions soften, add red chili flakes, and Italian Seasoning along with sliced mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Saute the mushrooms until they are cooked. It should take like 3-5 minutes.
- Add your marinara and pesto sauce to the pan. Mix everything well.
- Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, then add mascarpone cheese or cream cheese. Mix it in the sauce and incorporate it well.
- Once the pasta is boiled, save 1 cup of water. Then, strain the pasta using a clonader. Wash the pasta with cold water.
- Add 1 Cup of Reserved Pasta Water to the sauce. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add your cooked pasta to the sauce. Mix it well.
- Turn off the stove after a minute.
Serve The Pasta
- Serve Pasta Hot topped with fresh parsley, red chili flakes and parmesan cheese
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This was just special and delicious! I added sausage meat from 2 sweet Italian sausages taken out of their casings to give it some protein but other than that I followed the recipe. Keeping this as my “go to” basic pasta sauce recipe!
Italian Sausages in the pasta sound like the perfect addition! So happy the recipe was special for you!
Definitely trying this TONIGHT!!! Going to be adding brussels to the mix. I'm so excited. I will leave a review once we eat it!!(:
I hope you love them as much as we do!