This creamy tomato basil pasta recipe is a delicious meatless meal that's fast, simple to make, and is perfect for in-season summer tomatoes and fresh basil!
Looking for other ways to use up your garden basil? Try my Homemade Pesto recipe.
Tomato basil pasta
Few things bring me more joy than growing my own tomatoes and basil in the garden. Using them in an easy weeknight pasta? It's a no-brainer! This fresh tomato basil pasta is wonderful for effortless entertaining and is one of my favorite summer dinner ideas. I eat this pasta at least once a week during the summer. It's that tasty!
It only takes 30 minutes to make, and the simple cream sauce tastes so luxurious. Picture yourself on a patio with a glass of crisp white wine, great company, and this pasta. Dreamy, right? Also, you're eating it while on vacation in Italy. Ok, maybe not, but this recipe gets pretty close to that feeling! And all you need is a few everyday ingredients.
What goes into it
- Pasta - I used shells because they're perfect little pockets for the sauce, but you can use any pasta shape you have on hand or prefer. You could even try tortellini or ravioli.
- Butter and flour - for making a quick roux to thicken the sauce
- Garlic - I suggest 3 to 4 cloves minced, but adjust according to your tastes
- White wine - use one you'd actually enjoy drinking! I recommend pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. You can also sub chicken or vegetable broth no problem.
- Cream - we're using heavy cream to make the texture of the sauce totally decadent
- Dijon mustard - it's optional, but this ingredient is wonderful to give another savory level. You don't taste the mustard itself, so don't worry about that.
- Italian seasoning - it's my go-to seasoning blend for so many recipes. It has a mix of dried herbs in one convenient jar.
- Tomatoes - I suggest two medium tomatoes, but don't think too much about the size. One large tomato will work, as will a couple of smaller ones or a handful of tiny ones! As long as they're fresh, we're golden.
- Parmesan cheese - to take this dish over the top. As always, freshly grated is best!
- Basil - is there anything better than the iconic fresh basil and tomato combo!?
How to make tomato basil pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook your pasta al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook for about a minute, then add in the garlic, followed by the wine (or use chicken or veg broth).
Cook until it's reduced by half, then whisk in the cream, Dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, and then cook the sauce for 5 minutes or until it's thickened up a bit and the tomatoes have softened. Take the skillet off the burner and stir in the parmesan and basil.
Toss with the drained cooked pasta, add more parmesan if desired, and enjoy!
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for a lower fat alternative if possible. It may not thicken the same, and the acidity from the tomatoes could curdle it. You could try adding more flour if you need to use half-and-half, however, but we haven't tested it.
- Have more herbs in your garden? Chop them up and throw them in instead of using the dried Italian seasoning that I suggest in the recipe!
- Parmesan cheese is best when it's freshly grated. I always keep a wedge in the fridge and use my handy Microplane to grate it.
What to serve with this pasta
- It's delicious by itself and will make two generous portions or four smaller ones, but if feeding 4 people, I suggest serving it with a side salad and/or some garlic bread.
- This pasta would also be great as an elevated side dish. You could pair it with any number of main courses such as my Easy Pan Seared Pork Chops or these Easy Baked Chicken Thighs!
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days no problem, but you might find that the pasta soaks up the sauce a bit.
- Reheat over a low heat on the stovetop, and you could always add a splash of cream or broth to revive the sauce.
- I don't recommend freezing cream-based sauces.
Questions about this tomato and basil pasta? Let me know in the comments below!
Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken/veg broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard optional
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup basil (tear it up) or more, to taste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, make a quick roux by sprinkling the flour in and cook for about 1 minute, stirring fairly often.
- Add in the garlic, followed by the wine (or broth). Let it bubble until it's reduced by half (approx. 30 seconds to 1 minute).
- Whisk in the cream, Dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning until you've got a smooth sauce.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Cook the sauce for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened up a bit.
- Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and basil.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (I usually add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Serve immediately with more freshly grated parmesan if desired.
- Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry people are/what else you serve it with.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for a lower fat alternative. It may not thicken the same, and the acidity from the tomatoes could curdle it. You could try adding more flour if you use half-and-half.
- You don't need to be too precise with the tomato size so don't worry about weighing them. One larger tomato will work fine.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Made according to recipe. Not bad and not great. I don’t think I would make this again.
I'm sorry you didn't like it. Just a thought... it is really meant to showcase fresh summer ingredients like in-season tomatoes and it is March, so I wonder if that could be part of the issue. Or perhaps you didn't add enough salt? It's important in recipes like these to bring out the other flavors.
I have all in house to make. Can leftovers be frozen if recipe made as shown, no subs?
Hi Sherry! Creamy pastas generally don't freeze well (the sauce can easily separate/get a kinda weird texture). I'm not sure how well the tomatoes and fresh basil will do, either, unfortunately. And if you freeze cooked pasta, it can get kind puffy/too soft when you thaw it. You could try with leftovers as a bit of an experiment, though, and reheat over a low heat.