Creamy Pasta and Tomato Sauce

Creamy Tomato Pasta

The Spruce

Ratings (45)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
397 Calories
22g Fat
40g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 397
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 46mg 15%
Sodium 664mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 12g
Calcium 90mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Creamy tomato pasta is an easy five-ingredient main dish recipe that combines cream cheese with classic tomato sauce and spaghetti. It may sound a little unorthodox to add cream cheese to a pasta recipe, but it adds a tangy note to the sauce and a nice creaminess that turns this dish from an ordinary weeknight dinner to something you could serve to company.

Serve this dish with toasted garlic bread, a crisp green salad or a sweet and tart fruit salad, and rosé or red wine. 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes (diced, undrained)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package spaghetti 
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (cubed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

    Pot of boiling water
    The Spruce
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is tender and just starts to brown around the edges, about 5 to 6 minutes.

    Olive oil and onion in skillet
     The Spruce
  3. Add the pasta sauce to the onion mixture. Add the water to the empty jar, close and shake to loosen rest of pasta sauce and add to the skillet along with the undrained tomatoes. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently so the mixture doesn't burn on the bottom.

    Add pasta sauce to the mixture in skillet
     The Spruce
  4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the large pot of boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Test the pasta by biting into it. If the pasta is firm but tender, it's done.

    Cook spaghetti in large pot
     The Spruce
  5. A few minutes before the spaghetti is done, add the cream cheese to the pasta sauce. Cook and stir, using a wire whisk, until the cheese melts and the sauce is creamy. The cream cheese may not dissolve completely in the sauce because the sauce is acidic but that's OK. It will add the desired creamy texture and flavor.

    Add cream cheese to pasta sauce in skillet
    The Spruce
  6. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the skillet with the sauce.

    Add pasta to skillet
    The Spruce
  7. Toss for a few minutes, then serve.

Variations on Creamy Tomato Pasta

You can add whatever you like to this recipe—minced garlic, Parmesan cheese, sliced mushrooms browned with the onion, grated carrots, black olives or even some baby spinach leaves.

You also can vary the pasta shape if you're not a fan of spaghetti. Fettucini would work well, or for more of a casserole-style dish, you can use rigatoni or ziti and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top. Add a few fresh basil leaves and Buon appetito!

Making it Vegetarian/Vegan 

To make this dish vegan, you can substitute silken tofu or vegan cream cheese for a similar result. If you use tofu, you may want to add a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to give it the tangy sourness of genuine cream cheese.