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15 Best Sauces for Penne Pasta (Creamy Sauce Recipes)

Penne pasta is a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed in so many different ways.

Whether you are looking for a light and easy summer pasta dish or a hearty and comforting winter meal, penne pasta is always a good option.

And one of the best things about penne pasta is that it goes well with so many different sauces.

There are many different types of sauces that go well with penne pasta. For a light sauce, you can use a simple tomato sauce, or a vodka sauce. If you want a creamier sauce, you can use an Alfredo sauce, or a pesto sauce. If you want a heartier sauce, you can use a meat sauce, or a Bolognese sauce.

So if you are wondering what kind of sauce to put on penne pasta, then you are in the right place.

In this article, I’m sharing 15 of the best sauces for penne pasta including marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, and more.

What Sauce Goes with Penne Pasta

15 Best Sauces for Penne Pasta Recipes

Penne Pasta with Sauce

There are some to consider when choosing a sauce for your penne pasta:

  • First, think about the flavors you want to include. Do you want a creamy sauce or a tomato-based sauce?
  • Second, consider the ingredients you have on hand. You may not have all of the necessary ingredients for your first choice of sauce, so it’s important to be flexible.
  • And lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a new sauce or ingredient combination and see how it tastes. You may be surprised at how good it is.

Here are 15 sauces that go well with penne pasta:

1. Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce is known for its rich, creamy texture and its savory flavor.

While it is not the easiest sauce to make, it is definitely worth the effort.

Alfredo sauce pairs well with penne pasta, as the sauce clings to the pasta and provides a delicious, indulgent dish.

When making Alfredo sauce, be sure to use a good quality Parmesan cheese, as this will really affect the flavor of the sauce.

You can also add in a bit of heavy cream to help thicken the sauce and make it even more creamy.

If you find that the sauce is too thick, simply add in a bit of milk until you reach the desired consistency.

Lastly, be sure to season the sauce well with salt and pepper before serving.

2. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce comes from Italy and is made with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.

The sauce is usually made with olive oil, and sometimes includes onions or other vegetables.

The sauce can be used as a dipping sauce, or as a pasta sauce.

Marinara sauce is a good choice for penne pasta because it has a bold flavor and a thick texture.

The sauce is also relatively easy to make, and can be made with ingredients that are commonly found in pantries.

When making marinara sauce, it is important to cook the sauce slowly in order to allow the flavors to meld together.

3. Pesto Sauce

If you want to add some beautiful color and flavor to your penne pasta dish, then consider making a pesto sauce to go along with it.

This classic Italian sauce is made with basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic, and it can be either smooth or chunky depending on your preference.

It’s also relatively easy to make at home, although you can also find it jarred at most grocery stores.

When it comes to pairing pesto with penne pasta, you really can’t go wrong.

The sauce is flavorful and pairs well with the pasta’s creamy texture.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make your own pesto at home.

Otherwise, jarred pesto will do the trick just fine.

Just be sure to add a little extra Parmesan cheese on top before serving.

4. Cheese Sauce

If you’re a cheese lover like me, then you’ll love this cheese sauce recipe!

It’s the perfect sauce to pair with penne pasta, and it’s so easy to make.

Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to create a delicious cheese sauce that’s packed with flavor.

I like to use a combination of cheddar and Parmesan cheese, but you can use whatever type of cheese you prefer.

Just be sure to shred the cheese yourself, as pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well.

  1. To make the sauce, simply melt some butter in a pan over low heat.
  2. Once the butter has melted, add in the shredded cheese and whisk until it’s fully melted.
  3. Then, add in some milk and whisk until the sauce is the desired consistency. I like my cheese sauce to be on the thick side, but you can add more milk if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and you’re done!

5. Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom sauce is my personal favorite to pair with penne pasta.

I find that the creaminess of the sauce pairs well with the hearty pasta, and the mushrooms add a nice depth of flavor.

The sauce is relatively easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Here are some tips for making the perfect mushroom sauce:

  • Start by sautéing the mushrooms in a bit of oil until they are nice and brown. This will add a lot of flavor to the sauce.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a bit of garlic to the mix. It really rounds out the flavors.
  • Use a good quality cream for the sauce. I like to use a full fat cream, but you can use a lower fat version if you are watching your calories.
  • If you want a bit of a kick, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce.

I hope you enjoy this delicious mushroom sauce!

6. Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise is actually quite easy to make if you know the basics.

This sauce is great for penne pasta because it has a rich, buttery flavor that complements the pasta perfectly.

The key to making a good hollandaise is to whisk the egg yolks and butter slowly and steadily over low heat until the sauce thickens.

If you do this too quickly, the sauce can curdle.

Hollandaise can also be tricky to emulsify, so it’s important to add the butter a little bit at a time.

Once the sauce is thick and creamy, you can season it with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

7. Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese is flavorful, colorful, and easy to make.

It is a classic Italian sauce that goes well with penne pasta.

The sauce is made with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs.

The sauce can be made in advance and reheated when ready to serve.

Bolognese can be served with a variety of pasta shapes and sizes.

8. Puttanesca Sauce

This sauce isn’t as popular as some other sauces, but it’s still a classic for a reason.

The bold flavors and slightly chunky texture make it a perfect match for penne pasta.

It’s also not too difficult to make, which is always a bonus.

As for ingredients, you’ll need olive oil, garlic, anchovies, tomatoes, capers, olives, and parsley.

If you’re not a fan of anchovies, you can leave them out, but they do add a lot of flavor.

Check out these tips:

  • Make sure to chop the garlic and anchovies very finely, or they’ll be too overwhelming.
  • If you want a smoother sauce, you can use crushed tomatoes instead of diced.
  • Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

9. Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce

If you like your food spicy, then you’ll love arrabbiata sauce.

This Italian sauce is made with red chili peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely delicious.

The sauce has a great balance of flavor and heat, and it goes perfectly with penne pasta.

If you’ve never made arrabbiata sauce before, don’t worry – it’s actually quite easy.

You simply need to simmer the ingredients together in a pot until they’re cooked through.

The hardest part is chopping the chili peppers, but if you’re careful, it’s not too difficult.

Just be sure to wash your hands afterwards!

Here are some tips for making arrabbiata sauce:

  • If you want a less spicy sauce, you can remove the seeds from the chili peppers.
  • If you want a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients together.
  • If you want a more authentic sauce, you can use canned tomatoes instead of fresh.

10. Creamy Tomato Sauce

Some people like their tomato sauce runny, some people like it chunky, but most people can agree that a good tomato sauce is creamy.

This particular sauce goes well with penne pasta, as the pasta can hold onto the sauce well.

The sauce is not too difficult to make, and only requires a few ingredients that most people already have in their pantry.

Some tips for making this sauce include simmering the sauce for a longer period of time to allow the flavors to meld together, and using fresh tomatoes if possible.

11. Garlic Butter Sauce

Garlic and butter are two flavors that go exceptionally well together.

This garlic butter sauce is the perfect example of that.

The sauce is smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of garlic flavor.

It’s not overly garlicky, but it’s definitely not lacking in flavor.

The sauce is also very easy to make.

You simply need to melt butter and garlic together, and then add some cream and seasonings.

That’s pretty much it!

This sauce is the perfect accompaniment to penne pasta.

The pasta soaks up the sauce perfectly, and the flavors complement each other perfectly.

12. Aioli

Although some people don’t consider aioli a sauce per se, it definitely goes well with penne pasta.

Aioli is a delicious, garlicky mayonnaise that can be made with either raw or cooked garlic.

It’s perfect for those who love garlic flavor, but it can be a bit strong for those who are more delicate of palate.

Aioli is relatively easy to make, although it does require a little bit of time and patience.

The key ingredients you’ll need are garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks.

You’ll also need a food processor or blender to make the aioli smooth and creamy.

Here are a few tips for making aioli:

  • Use good quality olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Start with less garlic and add more to taste.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Be patient while blending the aioli – it can take a few minutes to come together.

If you’re looking for a delicious, garlicky sauce to pair with your penne pasta, aioli is a great option.

13. Bearnaise Sauce

Known for its flavor all around the world, bearnaise sauce is a staple in French cuisine.

The sauce is made by whisking egg yolks, vinegar, and tarragon into melted butter.

This results in a thick and creamy sauce that has a slightly acidic taste.

Bearnaise sauce goes great with penne pasta because the pasta can hold onto the sauce well.

The sauce is also creamy and rich, which pairs well with the pasta.

The difficulty in making bearnaise sauce is ensuring that the egg yolks do not curdle.

If they curdle, the sauce will be lumpy and have an unpleasant texture.

When making bearnaise sauce, it is important to use a good quality vinegar and butter.

The vinegar should be a white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.

The butter should be unsalted and of a good quality.

Some tips for making bearnaise sauce include whisking the egg yolks over a double boiler and adding the vinegar a little bit at a time.

14. Salsa

This Mexican-inspired sauce is the perfect addition to your penne pasta dish.

The salsa provides a flavorful and spicy kick, while the creaminess of the sauce helps to balance it out.

The salsa can be made as mild or as spicy as you like, depending on your preferences.

It is also relatively easy to make, and only requires a few simple ingredients.

When making the salsa, be sure to chop the vegetables finely so that they blend well with the pasta.

You can also add some fresh cilantro to the dish for an extra zesty flavor.

15. Chimichurri

Have you ever tried chimichurri with pasta?

If not, you’re missing out! It has a great texture and is relatively easy to make.

To make chimichurri, you’ll need a few simple ingredients: parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt.

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

That’s it!

One tip for making the perfect chimichurri is to use fresh parsley.

This will give the sauce a bright flavor that really enhances the pasta.

If you don’t have fresh parsley on hand, you can use dried parsley, but it won’t be quite as good.


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What Sauces Go with Penne Pasta

What Sauce Goes with Penne Pasta? 15 Best Sauces

Listen, figuring out what sauce goes with penne pasta is hard.
But we're here to help.
We've compiled a list of 15 of the best sauces to pair with your penne, so you can finally stop stressing and start eating.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 356 kcal


  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Cheese Sauce
  • Mushroom Sauce
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Puttanesca Sauce
  • Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce
  • Creamy Tomato Sauce
  • Garlic Butter Sauce
  • Aioli
  • Bearnaise Sauce
  • Salsa
  • Chimichurri


  • Pick your favorite sauce from this list to serve with your penne pasta dish.
  • Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
  • Enjoy in no time!
Keyword What Sauce Goes with Penne Pasta

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.