This simple and fresh tomato and basil pasta is ready in under 30 minutes and only has a handful of ingredients! It’s the perfect dish for any night of the week and can easily be customized to include a protein of your choice. Vegan friendly with a gluten-free option.
If there’s one thing I love about visiting Italy, it’s definitely the food. The sights are pretty amazing too, I mean Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but the food is truly incredible. It’s also nothing like the Italian food that’s popular here in America. (I couldn’t find fettuccine alfredo to save my life!) In Italy, many of the dishes are very simple, with few, but fresh, ingredients—and lots of flavor like this simple tomato and basil pasta!
Now that we’re back home, we’re making pizza and pasta regularly, wishing we were still walking the cobblestone streets of Italy. This dish is one of the most simplest pasta dishes you could make, even for busy weekdays. It’s ready in under 30 minutes, less time than a pre-packaged frozen lasagna would take, and only has a few, fresh ingredients. If you eat meat, add some grilled chicken or shrimp, or serve with crusty bread and a side salad to make it a complete meal. My family likes to top theirs with some grated parmesan too, but that’s totally optional. To me it’s perfect as is.
An essential step to ensure your pasta isn’t bland, is to generously salt the cooking water, although the amount of salt to add varies from person to person. You may have heard it said that pasta water should “taste like the sea”, which unless you take regular trips to the ocean and have a habit of tasting the water, what exactly does that mean?
At the risk of getting over zealous with the salt and having inedible pasta, I find that a few generous pinches of salt added to the pot of boiling water is sufficient.
I may have left a part of my heart back in Europe, but making the foods I enjoyed there brings a deluge of the happy memories made with my family. Memories I’ll have forever…which shall do until I’m back there again.
- 8–10 ounces thin spaghetti or other pasta of choice (use gluten-free pasta, if needed)
- ¼ cup olive or avocado oil
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, I cut the larger ones in half
- 3–4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- ¼ – ½ cup basil, chopped or thinly sliced
- grated parmesan, optional
- Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook noodles just shy of al dente, a minute or two less than package instructions; they will cook more in the pan. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and drain the noodles when done.
- While the noodles are cooking, begin making the sauce. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir around for a bit to cook, then add tomatoes. Cook together until tomatoes soften, about 4–5 minutes, pressing on a few of the tomatoes to release their juices and thicken the sauce. Careful not to cook over heat too high or the garlic can burn and add a bitter taste to the dish. Remove pan from heat until ready to add the cooked noodles.
- Place the pan of cooked tomatoes back over medium-high heat and add the hot noodles to the pan, along with the chopped basil. Toss to coat, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to bring the sauce together. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with freshly grated parmesan, if desired. Serves 3–4
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