This tomato basil pasta uses a homemade tomato sauce that is made with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, flavorful garlic, and tasty olive oil. The sauce perfectly complements the pasta and makes for a simple yet delicious dinner!
This tomato basil pasta is a favorite whenever I want to whip up a quick and delicious pasta dish that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or time. It is super simple to make, packed with flavor, and never fails to satisfy the craving for tasty pasta.
Tomato Basil Pasta Ingredients
To make tomato basil pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Pasta: I recommend using linguine for this recipe as the cherry tomato sauce perfectly clings to this type of pasta. But other types of pasta work, too. So feel free to pick another type of pasta if you want.
- Cherry tomatoes: Delicious cherry tomatoes are key for making a tasty tomato basil pasta sauce. So make sure to pick ripe cherry tomatoes when you go grocery shopping.
- Fresh basil: Fresh basil is another important ingredient in this recipe. Just be sure to have plenty on hand as it truly elevates the flavor of this dish.
- Shallots: For this recipe, I’d recommend using shallots. They are milder and have a very delicate taste. Red onions would be an alternative in case you can’t find shallots.
- Garlic: Garlic adds a lot of flavor to this recipe, so please make sure to use it. You can use regular medium-sized garlic cloves.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is needed to sauté the ingredients and to make the pasta sauce.
- Red pepper flakes: Red pepper flakes add some extra flavor and heat to this recipe. You don’t have to use a lot, but I’d definitely recommend using a small amount.
- Parmesan: Parmesan cheese is great when serving any type of pasta dish! So I’d recommend having some on hand for this tomato basil pasta.
How to make tomato basil pasta
This pasta dish is super simple to make in only 20 minutes! Just follow these steps:
- Cook the pasta: First, cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Then save some pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- Sauté the ingredients: While the pasta cooks, sauté the garlic, shallot, and red pepper flakes with olive oil in a pan over medium heat until fragrant. Then add the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the tomatoes have softened.
- Combine and add pasta water: Now transfer the pasta to the pan. Toss and add pasta water until the sauce clings to the pasta. Season with more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if needed.
- Stir in basil leaves and garnish: Shortly before serving, stir in the chopped basil leaves. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Before trying this tomato basil pasta recipe, I recommend reading through the following tips and notes.
- Adjust the amount of garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. If you love garlicky foods, I recommend using 3 garlic cloves for 4 servings of this dish. One teaspoon of red pepper flakes will make the pasta taste slightly spicy. Use more if you want this dish to be even spicier.
- Don’t forget to save some pasta water before draining. This recipe requires pasta water to bind the sauce and make it cling to the pasta. Without the pasta water, it doesn’t turn out as delicious. So be sure to save some pasta water before draining or transfer the pasta directly from the pot without draining.
- Add as much pasta water as you need and toss the linguine until the sauce clings to it. It’s really important to be patient and toss and add starchy pasta water until you have a delicious cherry tomato sauce that clings to the linguine.
- When you are finished, add the basil leaves and serve immediately. If you add the basil leaves too early, they will lose a lot of aroma. So make sure to add the chopped basil once you have that beautiful clingy sauce made with pasta water. Then garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Here are a few ways to switch up the flavor of this dish if you feel like trying a different version.
- Herbs: Fresh parsley is another delicious herb that goes super well with this type of sauce! So feel free to replace the basil with it if you want to try something new.
- Spices: Paprika powder and cayenne pepper are two spices that go really well with this dish! So if you want to prepare a spicier version, you can definitely add them when seasoning the tomatoes.
- Sauce: If you want to add some acidity to the sauce, I recommend using white wine or finishing off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Both options are great to adjust the flavor of the sauce in case it needs some brightness.
How to serve tomato basil pasta
This dish tastes great as is, but here are a few ways to add more vegetables or protein to your meal if you want to.
- Salmon: One of my favorite proteins is salmon. It’s super juicy and delicious, especially when you season it with paprika powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can either sear it in a pan or use your air fryer to cook it.
- Shrimp: Another favorite is shrimp. You can season and sauté it in a separate pan or cook it in your air fryer.
- Side salad: I love to serve an arugula salad with this pasta as it complements the dish well. But other types of side salads work just as great!
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables taste really great with this pasta dish! You can sauté them in olive oil and with some extra garlic. Or you can roast them in the oven or in the air fryer. I personally love bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant. It tastes really delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
It is garlicky, sweet, slightly spicy, and well-balanced with a hint of acidity. The pasta water makes the tomato sauce cling beautifully to the linguine and makes the sauce creamy and delicious. The fresh basil leaves perfectly complement the other flavors. This pasta dish really is flavorful and absolutely delish!
The red pepper flakes add a tiny bit of spice to this dish. So if you prefer something very mild, use less or just skip them entirely. You can always add more as you go.
I recommend storing leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. To reheat them, I recommend adding a small amount of water and using either your stove or microwave.
More tasty and simple pasta recipes
If you are looking for more pasta recipes that you can try, I highly recommend checking out the following recipes.
Tomato Basil Pasta
- 12 ounces (whole wheat) linguine or another pasta of choice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 shallots finely diced
- ½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup pasta water more as needed
- ¾ cup chopped basil leaves
- parmesan cheese freshly grated, to taste
- First, cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Save some pasta water, drain, and set aside.12 ounces (whole wheat) linguine
- While the pasta cooks, preheat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant.3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 - 3 garlic cloves, 2 shallots, ½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Now add the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the tomatoes have softened.3 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper
- Transfer the pasta to the pan. Toss and add pasta water until the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta. Season with more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if needed.¾ cup pasta water
- Stir in the basil leaves right before serving the pasta. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!parmesan cheese, ¾ cup chopped basil leaves