Creamy tomato penne with pesto

 Quick pasta dishes
We love a good pasta dish in our house, and this is one of my go-to recipes for a quick and delicious week night meal. The sauce is ready in under thirty minutes and can even be made ahead of time and reheated. And I have to say it again – it is so tasty!

Easy pasta recipes

Speaking of speedy dinners and things going in a flash, am I the only one feeling slightly alarmed at how quickly this year is going? I had to do a double take last week when I went grocery shopping and saw mince pies on the bakery shelves. It seems like just last month we were packing up the Christmas decorations and getting ready for the new school year, and (what feels like) all of a sudden September is just around the corner and I am planning for the last stretch of the year. Yikes!

On the plus side this means that we are headed towards our gorgeous South African summer, and with this recipe you can spend less time at the stove and more time in the sunshine!
Quick pasta recipes
Cook’s notes:
  • you can use another type of pasta if you do not have any penne in the pantry.
  • the cream can also be replaced with crème fraîche or thick plain yoghurt for that creamy finish.
  • you can make this recipe kiddy-friendly by replacing the wine with some veggie stock / water. You can also sneak in an extra portion of veggies by “hiding” them in the sauce.
  • I find this recipe usually makes enough for two adults and two children, sometimes with a bit to spare, (because you never know whether they will be having two bites or two bowlfuls!).

Foodies, don’t forget to head on over to Instagram for behind the scenes pics of what I am getting up to in the Cupcakes and Couscous kitchen!

Vegetarian pasta recipes



  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 200g white mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 x 410g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g tomato paste
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 250g penne, cooked as per packet instructions
  • basil pesto, to serve
  • finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve

1.) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and red wine and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened.

2.) Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stocksugar, Italian herbs. some salt and pepper and the cream. Stir and then allow to boil gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

3.) Tip the cooked penne into the sauce and toss gently. Dish the pasta onto warmed plates and dot with little dollops of basil pesto. Add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

6 thoughts on “Creamy tomato penne with pesto

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