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The most classic of all combinations comes together in this quick, juicy tomato basil pasta. It makes an excellent meatless meal that is satisfying, easy to make and absolutely delicious!
I’ve been making this timeless pasta with tomatoes and basil for as long as I can remember, it was a staple in my household when I was a child, and it’s still my “go-to” meal whenever I have ripe tomatoes.
Burst ripe cherry tomato juice, extra virgin olive oil and garlic make the most delicious of sauces, absolutely perfect for slurp-worthy spaghetti ready in less than 15 minutes!
Not to brag, but this is the tomato basil pasta we all really need. : )
It’s super easy to whip up, economical, kid-friendly… and tastes AMAZING. Once again, a simple recipe where fresh ingredients make an unbeatable flavor combination.
And when this summer you’ll come across ripe cherry tomatoes at your local market, or if you’re sooooo lucky to have your own fresh tomatoes from the garden, this is definitely the pasta recipe you’ll want to make! : )
List of the ingredients
- Pasta (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni…)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chili flakes
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt & pepper
How to make tomato basil pasta
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Cook your pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté garlic and chili.
- Toss in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and cook.
- You’ll want to cook the tomatoes over a high heat until they burst and their juice get thicker. It takes about 6-7 minutes.
- Once the tomatoes look saucy and yummy, stir in the shredded basil, taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Finally, it’s time to drain the pasta and add it to the skillet.
- Toss until well combined and serve with more fresh basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese!
Tomato basil pasta ingredients
Pasta: I’m a spaghetti lover, but any good-quality premium pasta works totally fine as long as you cook it until al dente, not to mention this delicious homemade cavatelli pasta!
Tomatoes: make sure your cherry tomatoes are ripe and sweet and cook them until they burst and get deliciously saucy. I reccommend using cherry tomatoes for this recipe, but Roma tomatoes can work too, although the end result won’t be exactly the same (see notes in the recipe card).
Basil: use only fresh basil for this recipe.
Extra virgin olive oil: it’s absolutely the best for this tomato basil pasta, full of fresh fruity flavor that pairs beautifully with tomatoes.
Garlic: the sautéed garlic provides such a wonderful base, and I’m always happy to use at least three garlic cloves. But If you’re not a garlic fan of if you find it hard to digest, reduce the quantity.
Chili flakes: to give it some kick, but feel free to skip it if you feed children.
Parmesan cheese: it adds plenty of savory flavor, but I leave it optional in case you prefer a vegan or dairy-free version. The end result will be terrific anyway.
Salt & pepper: taste the tomato basil sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. Salt is also important when you cook your pasta, because If you haven’t salted your pasta water properly the entire dish will be miserably under-seasoned. : (
Fancy some variations?
This tomato basil pasta is so delicious as it is, but I’ve also tried a few add-ins, mostly cheese, that paired beautifully with the cherry tomatoes and basil.
Think of some fresh burrata on the side or a dollop of ricotta or soft goat cheese tossed along with the pasta. Even a handful of Kalamata olive will be delicious, but apart from these variations, I would keep it simple.
More recipe with fresh tomatoes?
Since summer is approaching you might want to explore and enjoy more recipes featuring delicious summertime tomatoes. Here I’ve got a few for you:
- Focaccia with tomatoes
- Tomato onion salad
- Marinated tomato salad
- Tomato and cucumber salad
- Pasta with tomatoes and zucchini
- Pasta with tomatoes and spinach
- Cherry tomato pasta salad
- Fresh tomato pizza
More pasta recipes ready in no time?
And if you look for quick and super delicious pasta recipes, I’ve got you covered with some of my most popular recipes:
- Spinach pasta
- Lemon ricotta pasta
- Cream cheese pasta
- Arugula pasta
- Spaghetti with garlic & olive oil
- Pasta with olives
Lastly, if you make this scrumptious tomato basil pasta, leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating. I would love to hear from you guys and get your feedback!
Tomato Basil Pasta
- ½ lb (8oz/220 grams) pasta (spaghetti, penne…)
Tomato Basil Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes, use a bit more if you wish
- 2 ½ cups (approx 12oz/350 grams) cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves, shredded
- grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook al dente according to package directions.
- Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water (you might need some starchy cooking water to toss your pasta if the tomato sauce is not moist enough).
Tomato and basil sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the chili flakes and cook for one minute until fragrant.
- Toss in the tomatoes, the salt and some cracked black pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about 6-7 minutes, until the tomatoes burst and begin to stick slightly to the bottom of the pan and their juice get thicker.
- Add the basil leaves, give a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. If the pasta is not done yet, turn the heat off and set aside.
- When ready, add the drained pasta to the skillet, toss until well combined and coated, and cook for about 30 seconds over high heat (adding a touch of the reserved cooking water only if you need extra moisture).
- Turn the heat off and divide the pasta among plates and serve with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, basil and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!