I love any pasta dish in a pink sauce, which is essentially a tomato sauce mixed with cream to create a beautiful orangey-pink colored sauce. When my cousin Ricardo came to visit us from Italy years ago, he taught me how to make a delicious pasta that we now affectionately call “Ricardo Sauce.” That pasta has become a family favorite of ours, and this is a lightened-up, one pot version of that dish. Flavored pancetta, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, the base of the sauce is simple but flavorful. In place of heavy cream, I cook the pasta in a mixture of tomatoes, almond milk, and chicken broth, which adds creaminess as the pasta cooks. You’ll want this one pot rigatoni in pink sauce on your dinner table, trust me!
Everyone loves a one-pot meal
There are so many perks to a one pot meal:
- done in under half an hour
- one pot to clean up
- no need to coordinate the timing of different elements
- feeds a crowd
- easy to make ahead of time
That being said, I have been on such a one-pot pasta kick lately. The first one I made was the One Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta, followed by the One Pot Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Sausage. You see, once I nailed down the ratio for liquid to pasta, the rest was easy, and the possibilities became endless. If you couldn’t tell already, I love creating different variations of my popular recipes. Once I see that a recipe has taken off and gained popularity, is easy to make, and well-loved by my readers, then I love creating different variations of that. One pot pastas are the ultimate one pot meal. They are crowd pleasers, they are so simple to throw together, and they eliminate the need for multiple pots and pans (usually you would need one pot to boil the pasta, one to build the sauce, a strainer, etc.) As easy as pasta is to make, it does use a lot of equipment.
How does a one pot pasta dish work?
The general ratio of a one-pot pasta dish is one part pasta, to two parts cooking liquid. This is the key ratio for ensuring that the pasta cooks adequately in the liquid, while absorbing the flavor and releasing its starches. For this dish, I kept the same ratio (one pound of pasta to 2 cups almond milk and 2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth) but then also added a can of plum tomatoes and juice. The rationale behind this extra liquid is that the tomatoes will ultimately become the sauce for the pasta.
What will I need to make this one pot rigatoni in pink sauce?
Here is the list of ingredients you will need to make this recipe:
- Pancetta is seasoned, salt-cured pork belly (I think of it as Italian bacon). It is so delicious!
- I buy this one which is pre-cut into tiny cubes, perfect for this recipe. I use the entire 4 oz container.
- olive oil spray
- San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- tomato paste
- reduced sodium chicken broth
- unsweetened almond milk
- kosher salt
- red pepper flakes
- reduced fat cream cheese
How to make one pot rigatoni in pink sauce
To make this recipe, start out by chopping the onion and adding it to a large Dutch oven or pot with the cubed pancetta and a touch of olive oil spray (you won’t need much, since the pancetta will render it’s own fat and help the cooking process along). Cook this for ten minutes, or until the pancetta has rendered its fat and the onions are tender. Then, chop the garlic and add that in. Cook that for just a minute.
Next, add the liquids (the broth, the milk, and the canned tomatoes). Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste, the salt, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Then, add the raw pasta in and stir to ensure everything is combined.
Bring this mixture to a boil, and then cover with the lid and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes covered, or until the pasta is tender. Then, chop the basil and stir that in with the cream cheese.
One Pot Rigatoni in Pink Sauce
- dutch oven or large pot
- 4 oz pancetta, cubed
- 1 onion, medium, chopped
- olive oil spray
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz peeled tomatoes, canned
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb rigatoni, raw, uncooked
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh, chopped
- 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- Add the chopped onion and diced pancetta to a large Dutch oven or pot with olive oil spray.
- Cook for 10 minutes over medium to medium-high heat until the fat from the pancetta is rendered off, and the onion is tender.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the canned tomatoes, chicken broth, milk, tomato paste, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Add the pasta, toss to coat.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer.
- Simmer covered for 13-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
- Stir in the cream cheese and chopped basil.
- 8 WW points (blue and green plans)
- 2 WW points (purple plan, if you use whole wheat pasta)