Copycat Noodles & Company Penne Rosa Recipe

Sometimes you just need a good bowlful hearty bowl of pasta, and this recipe by Catherine Brookes is sure to satisfy your cravings. Our copycat Noodles & Company penne rosa is the perfect weeknight dish, bringing together simplicity and sophistication. It's packed with Italian-inspired flavors, and requires just a few basic ingredients and straightforward steps. You'll be amazed at how effortlessly you can recreate the magic of this much-loved restaurant meal in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Just like the Noodles & Company original, this delicious dish features tender penne pasta tossed with earthy mushrooms and aromatic garlic, all bathed in a rich, creamy, and subtly spiced marinara sauce. The addition of sweet cherry tomatoes and vibrant spinach adds a burst of freshness, while a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese provides the perfect finishing touch. Each bite is the ultimate mixture of freshness and indulgence, resulting in a wholesome meal that's sure to satisfy. This copycat penne rosa comes together in just over 20 minutes, so it's a wonderfully quick and easy crowd-pleasing pasta dish to add to your dinner repertoire.

Gather the ingredients for copycat Noodles & Company penne rosa

To create this copycat recipe at home, you'll first need some penne pasta for that hearty base. Then, there's olive oil for frying the sliced white mushrooms and minced garlic. Next up, we add marinara sauce, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, and oregano. When the sauce has almost finished cooking, toss in some spinach and diced cherry tomatoes. You can also season with some salt and pepper to taste. The final touch is a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Boil the pasta per package instructions, then drain and set aside.

Step 2: Heat the oil

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.

Step 3: Saute the mushrooms

Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Add the garlic

Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Step 5: Add the sauce, cream, and seasonings

Stir in the marinara sauce, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add spinach and tomatoes

Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Step 7: Garnish with Parmesan and serve

Portion the pasta into bowls and top with the grated Parmesan cheese.

What types of meat or protein pair well with penne rosa?

When it comes to adding an extra protein boost to your penne rosa, there are plenty of options to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. One classic choice is grilled chicken breast, which you can simply slice up and place on top of the pasta dish. Tender, juicy chicken is a wonderful accompaniment to the rich, herby flavors of the pasta sauce. 

For seafood lovers, shrimp is another excellent choice. Toss some sauteed or grilled shrimp through the penne rosa before serving for an elegant touch. Its light, delicate, and slightly sweet flavor makes another tasty pairing. Chopped Italian sausage can also bring a flavorful kick to penne rosa, with its bold seasonings adding plenty of depth.

If you're looking for a vegetarian or plant-based option, try adding cannellini beans or chickpeas to your penne rosa. Both will provide a hearty dose of protein and fiber, making the dish extra nutritious. Plus, they will soak up the flavors of the delicious sauce beautifully.

Can I adjust the spice level in the pasta sauce?

One of the great things about cooking at home is the ability to customize recipes, and adjusting the spice level in this penne rosa is no exception. If you prefer a milder sauce, simply reduce or omit the red pepper flakes altogether. This is the ingredient that provides the sauce with a little heat, so adjusting it can tone down the spice level to your liking.

Or, if you enjoy a bit more heat, feel free to increase the amount of red pepper flakes. You can also a dash of cayenne pepper, drizzle of hot sauce, or some finely chopped fresh chile pepper for an extra kick. It's always best to start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste as you go.

There are also different options when it comes to the marinara sauce itself. If you're buying it at the store, some varieties will come with added chile or spices, whilst some are milder, featuring classic garlic and herb flavors. So have a browse for a sauce that suits your preferred spice level. If you're making your own batch of sauce at home, it's of course super easy to customize too.

Copycat Noodles & Company Penne Rosa Recipe
5 from 8 ratings
Bring the goodness of Noodles & Company's classic penne rosa to your own kitchen with this easy copycat recipe.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
13
minutes
Servings
3
Servings
bowl of penne rosa
Total time: 18 minutes
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • ⅓ cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Boil the pasta per package instructions, then drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  3. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the marinara sauce, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Portion the pasta into bowls and top with the grated Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 514
Total Fat 17.6 g
Saturated Fat 7.1 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 31.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 71.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Total Sugars 10.8 g
Sodium 768.8 mg
Protein 18.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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