Parents often remark after their kids join the family, they aren’t quite sure what they used to talk about or what they did with their time.  We have pondered this topic many times ourselves.  Well, now I am starting to feel similarly about this ridiculous winter.  Everything seems to revolve around it, since we are continuously cooped up inside with two stir crazy children.  I’m tired of talking about wind chills, inches of snow, school cancellations and delays, etc.

Since the end is nowhere in sight, we do the best we can to make things more enjoyable. And what better way than comfort food?  We don’t eat much pasta these days and typically opt for more nutritious grains such as quinoa, but when we do it is a treat.  This meal was the perfect indulgence and a fitting way to use up the last two jars of the 50 pounds of tomatoes I canned in late summer.  (I guess I need to try for 75 this summer!)  Dressed with a hearty tomato sauce enhanced with a touch of mascarpone and shaved Parmesan, this warmed our bellies and our spirits.  Not too much longer, right?  Right??


  • 12 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine, such as Merlot
  • 1 (28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Chopped fresh basil, for serving


  • 01

    Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Drain well.  Set aside.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion to the pan and sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes.  Cook 1-2 minutes, just until fragrant and the tomato paste begins to brown. Add the wine to the pan and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  When most of the moisture has bubbled off, add the tomatoes to the pan along with the Italian seasoning.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Cover, leaving the lid cracked.  Let the sauce simmer and thicken, 10-15 minutes.

  • 03

    When the sauce is finished cooking, remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the mascarpone and half of the shaved Parmesan.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.  Toss the pasta with the sauce.  Serve immediately, garnishing with fresh basil and additional Parmesan as desired.

  • I really talk about winter/weather nonstop. It’s ridiculous and probably very boring lol…especially since the rest of the time, I’m usually talking about wedding plans. Which, for people not getting married, is equally boring.

    Yay for pasta! And mascarpone. Two of my favorite dreamy things.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    I will be very happy when this winter weather is over. We’ve had three big snow storms already, and there’s more forecasted. This pasta looks delicious. I love comforting foods like this when the weather’s icky.

  • ellysaysopa

    Haha, I have had this recipe pinned and literally just this weekend thought, OK, I need to finally make this! Too funny. And yes, I am sick of this winter and there will probably still be snow sitting on our curb in my birthday in June.

  • Becky

    I usually find mascarpone a little bland. I wonder if I’m getting the wrong thing? If you have it in a recipe, then it can’t be the bland item I’m remembering. I guess I’ll find out when I try this recipe.

  • annieseats

    I find it bland on its own, but it is adds a creamy richness to sauces and desserts. It just has to be used in the right setting, I think.

  • Melissa Brooker

    oohh this sounds so good! I’m always looking for new ways to dress up a yummy tomatoey pasta! This will be on next week’s menu for sure!

  • Becky

    Okay. That makes sense. Thanks!

  • Courtney

    I’ve used mascarpone in plenty of desserts, but I just started venturing into using mascarpone in cooking. It adds a nice creaminess to just about anything. Instant comfort food.

  • You’re right, there is no better way than comfort food! And this looks like a perfect contender :)

  • I’ve recently started making my own mascarpone and I really should start using it for something else apart from on top of pancakes! This is a great option, thank you!

  • Angie Frazzini Gazdziak

    Mascarpone tomato sauce is one of my favorite combinations. And you’re right-I think this winter has felt never-ending. If I hear the word “subzero” one more time, I might lose my mind.

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Oh Annie, you made this pasta look dreamy. I absolutely loved this meal. And yes! Get a move on summer! xx

  • Joy

    I definitely want to make this, looks so yummy!

  • Mary Ruth Stuckart Cummins

    Made this for dinner last night and have leftovers for lunch today! Another wonderful recipe. Thanks Annie.

  • Rosanna

    I’m so sick of winter! I’m from Florida originally and have spent the last year and a half in Chicago and while I love the city, the winter is trying to kill me. It’s a good thing we have comfort food; otherwise, I might not survive.

  • Summer

    I made this last week for dinner and it was a huge hit with my husband. He said it was by far his favorite pasta dish that I have tried recently. I think the leftovers were even better! Thanks!

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    I am so sick of winter too. I decided I am just going enjoy the indoors by baking as much as possible until it gets too hot.

  • This pasta dish looks so comfortable! I definitely would love a bowl of this! :)