This Tomato Basil Pasta recipe is a healthy, hearty, and delicious pasta dish that’s filled with juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and parmesan cheese! It’s ready in just 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights!
Table of Contents
Tomato Basil Pasta combines fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, and parmesan for a wonderfully comforting but healthy meal.
It’s perfect for any time of year, but from late summer on, I love using the fresh tomatoes from our garden.
Fresh basil leaves give this dish an unbeatable flavor, and you can use them whole or chopped.
This simple recipe only takes 30 minutes to make, so it’s perfect for dinnertime on busy weeknights.
It’s colorful and delicious enough to hang onto for dinner parties and special occasions too. Choosing the absolute best and freshest ingredients makes this dish a show stopper!
- Pasta: I like using spaghetti or spaghettini pasta for this recipe. You can use penne pasta or another favorite pasta shape – any will work here since we are boiling it to al dente.
- Oil: I’ve used olive oil, but you can use extra virgin olive oil or canola oil to cook the tomatoes.
- Tomatoes: cherry or grape tomatoes work best for this pasta dish, but small Roma tomatoes will work too. Get tomatoes still on the vine if you can, or use homegrown ones!
- Garlic: freshly minced garlic will add a great savory flavor to this pasta. You can use garlic powder in a pinch.
- Butter: salted butter will help make the sauce, while also enhancing the flavors of the dish. If you have unsalted butter, you may just want to season further before serving.
- Seasoning: use red pepper flakes for a bit of heat and fresh basil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to give this dish a great, fresh flavor.
- Cheese: use a block of Parmesan cheese that you can grate yourself rather than pre-grated cheese.
How to Make Tomato Basil Pasta
This recipe is so simple! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
- Cook tomatoes: Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil, then cook the tomatoes.
- Add ingredients: Add garlic, butter, and red pepper flakes and cook. Add some pasta water to form a sauce.
- Combine ingredients: Add cooked pasta to the pan of tomatoes. Add basil and parmesan and stir well, adding leftover pasta water as needed to coat the pasta.
Tomato Basil Pasta FAQs
We use fresh basil leaves in this recipe, but you can chop it, or use the whole stalk if you prefer, and remove it for serving. If you’re making this recipe in the dead of winter and good basil is nowhere to be found, you can substitute with a spoonful of basil pesto.
Store Tomato Basil Pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze pasta leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Tomato Basil Pasta Variations
This recipe is pretty basic, with a few good-quality but still simple ingredients. Not much here can be swapped while still calling it “tomato basil pasta,” but feel free to experiment on your own!
- Herbs: obviously, my preference here is basil, but you can swap it for a good handful of other fresh herbs or a good tablespoon of basil pesto if basil is hard to find. Italian seasoning would work well too.
- Cheese: I love parmesan here, but another hard cheese like asiago or grana padano or crumbled feta would also be delicious.
- Spiciness: Add some more spice with cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or more red pepper flakes for extra heat.
- Tomato Sauce: You could blend the tomatoes in a food processor after cooking them. Once you add in the starchy pasta water, it’ll make a thick tomato basil sauce for the pasta.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top of this dish to serve, or serve some in a small bowl on the table for dipping with bread.
Serve this delicious meal on its own, or with some chicken to make it fuller, or go a bit further. Try my Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast, this Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Breast, or Creamy Garlic Chicken Breasts for more protein!
More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Try
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Tomato Basil Pasta
- 450 grams spaghetti or spaghettini pasta (1 lb)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (use anywhere from ⅛-½ teaspoon according to your tastes)
- ½ cup fresh basil (or sub 1 tablespoon basil pesto)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, butter, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add a small amount of pasta water to form a sauce.
- Add cooked, drained pasta to the pan of tomatoes. Add basil and parmesan and stir well, adding additional pasta water as needed to coat the pasta.
- Store: Store this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
- Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
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