Penne Rosa can be a weeknight family meal or a romantic dinner you can make with your sweetheart. With a creamy, savory sauce and served alongside parmesan-crusted chicken, this easy pasta dish is one you’ll make again and again.
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Okay, friends. Real talk.
Valentine’s Day is just about here and it’s time to decide if you’re going to make a dinner reservation or stay in.
There’s benefits to both: If you and your partner don’t go out a lot, Cupid’s day can be a good excuse to treat yourselves or try a new restaurant together.
I don’t know about you but, around here, the restaurants seem filled with teens, the wait times can be long and service isn’t always the best.
So if you’re okay to save the fancy date for another night, a cozy dinner at home can be just as special.
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where everyone seems to go out to eat. Personally, I would prefer to save our romantic nights out for times when restaurants are a little less busy.
I have been feeling all the stay-at-home vibes lately anyway, and I think this year we’ll just plan to stay home, make dinner together and watch a movie. Maybe make some popcorn.
Honestly, I think that sounds like the perfect date night idea for our first married Valentine’s Day.
Cooking together is truly one of our favorite things to do. We seem to cycle through a list of recipes for weekdays, but every so often we’ll plan out a super special meal.
One of our recent favorites is Penne Rosa, a delicious and easy-to-make pasta dish with lots of veggies in a creamy rosa sauce — all topped with succulent, parmesan-crusted chicken.
It sounds fancy, but it’s easier than you’d expect — and I think this dish will make its way into our weekday rotation too, along with this Spicy Vegetarian Black Bean Soup and this Spaghetti and Chicken Meatballs Soup.
What is rosa sauce?
My friends at Bertolli® sent me jars of two of their sauces to mix together to create a dish with a savory, mixed rosa sauce.
I discovered that when you combine Bertolli Traditional Marinara Sauce with Italian Herbs and Fresh Garlic and Bertolli Alfredo With Aged Parmesan Cheese Sauce, the result is a delicious, creamy tomato sauce.
The sauce reminded me of a Penne Rosa pasta dish I loved at an Italian restaurant I used to live near, so I set out to recreate it and share it with Chris.
You might never think to combine marinara sauce with alfredo sauce — usually you just reach for a jar of one or the other when cooking a pasta dish.
But together? The cheesy tomato combination is what makes this rosa sauce something truly special.
Not only is its rosy color is perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner, but it is so full of flavor, you’ll want to put rosa sauce on every pasta dish from now on.
Did you know Bertolli Sauces are made the Tuscan way? That means they are made with just a few simple ingredients and are cooked lightly with olive oil. This lets any dish shine with tons of flavor.
I love this mentality, because it applies to a great home-cooked meal as well as a great date night: All you need are a few simple ingredients and each other.
How to make Penne Rosa
Penne Rosa with Parmesan Crusted Chicken is a relatively easy dish to cook. You just need to follow a few simple steps.
First, cook your pasta. I recommend following the package instructions.
While it’s cooking, prep your meat and veggies. Next, bread the chicken and begin to fry it in a skillet, then start the veggies in a big pot.
Once the veggies are warmed through, stir in the pasta then the two sauces.
Everything should finish around the same time, and presto! You’re ready to eat.
Penne Rosa is perfect for a Valentine’s Day date night (or any at-home date night), and here’s why: You can cook it together.
This is one of those dishes where it goes more smoothly if there’s two of you.
Is it possible to make all by yourself? Absolutely.
But cooking together is so much fun!
Here’s how my husband and I cook this dish together:
- One of us starts the water for the pasta on one of the back burners, and then puts the noodles in when the water reaches boiling.
- One person (usually Chris) will prepare, bread and cook the chicken in a skillet on one of the front burners.
- Meanwhile, the other person (usually me), cuts the veggies and cooks them on the other front burner, then stirs in the pasta when it’s time.
- We both usually finish cooking our components at the same time, and dinner is served!
What you need to make Penne Rosa
For this dish, I use two big pots and our cast iron skillet.
If you only have one big pot, don’t worry. I would cook the pasta first, then set it aside in a bowl so you can reuse the pot for the veggies.
You’ll have plenty extra, too, so you can enjoy the memory of your romantic cooking date night adventure for leftovers. (We often freeze some of our leftovers to enjoy another night!)
How to make Penne Rosa sauce
Penne Rosa sauce is made up of marinara and alfredo sauces.
If you’re game to make this recipe with your person on your next date night, you’re going to need to stock up on some jars of Bertolli Sauce.
You’ll need one jar each of Bertolli Traditional Marinara Sauce with Italian Herbs and Fresh Garlic and Bertolli Alfredo With Aged Parmesan Cheese Sauce. Take one jar of each and stir them together to make a penne rosa sauce.
Let me know in the comments if you try making this dish with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day!
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 4 chicken breasts
- freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (or 10 fresh tomatoes, diced)
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 24-ounce jar Bertolli Traditional Marinara Sauce with Italian Herbs and Fresh Garlic
- 1 15-ounce jar Bertolli Alfredo With Aged Parmesan Cheese Sauce
- shredded parmesan cheese, for garnish
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- Prepare a large pot of boiling water and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile flatten the chicken breasts with a meat mallet to an even thickness. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- On a plate, mix together bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and water to create an egg wash.
- Coat each chicken breast in the egg wash, then coat each side in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken breasts 6-8 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F. Place on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until warmed through.
- Add the spinach, and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Then add the cooked pasta, and top with both jars of sauce. Stir everything together until the vegetables and pasta are well-coated in sauce.
- Slice the chicken before serving over bowls of the pasta and sauce. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
- Store chicken and pasta separately in airtight containers for up to one week.
Any leftover pasta can be frozen. Store in a freezer-safe bag or container.
To reheat pasta from frozen: Remove the pasta from its container and place the pasta in a baking dish. Cover with foil and put into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350°F, and allow it to cook until it is serving temperature, around 20 to 35 minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 870Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 1930mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 49g