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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.

close-up of creamy tomato basil pasta in a skillet

Why you’ll love it

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.

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. Also, you’re eating it while on vacation in Italy. Ok, maybe not, but this recipe gets pretty close to that feeling.

What you’ll need

  • 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.
  • Italian seasoning – 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!?

Helpful tips

  • 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. 

How to make tomato basil pasta

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

cooking a roux and then adding in garlic to a cast iron skillet

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).

adding in cream, tomatoes, and basil to a cast iron skillet for the sauce

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 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.

finishing creamy tomato basil pasta by adding cooked pasta to the skillet

Toss with the drained cooked pasta, add more parmesan if desired, and enjoy!

What to serve with tomato basil pasta

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.
creamy tomato basil pasta in two white bowls (shell pasta)

If you made this tomato and basil pasta, let me know in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.

close-up of creamy tomato basil pasta in a skillet
4.84 from 12 votes

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

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!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 551kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 279mg, Potassium: 366mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1831IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 210mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious! Haven’t tried it yet, because I cannot have heavy cream. I’m am wondering though, if using coconut cream would work. I’ll probably have to experiment with it.

    1. Hi! Yes – you’d need to experiment with it. It’ll change the flavor a bit, but I think it could work if you’re ok with that.

  2. Amazing! This is my husband’s favorite dish now. He asks me to make this often. Thank you for such a great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow. Bravo. My husband compared it to his favorite Italian restaurant dish. Thank you for making me look like a kitchen goddess, it was so easy!!!!

  4. This was such a phenomenal recipe! I sauteed an onion in olive oil before I added the butter and flour for the roux, and I used spinach instead of basil, but omg was it good! 10/10 my wife and little guy asked when we can have it again! Thanks for an unbelievable recipe!

    1. That’s wonderful to hear, Josh! So happy your family enjoyed this pasta. Thanks for coming back to write a review!

  5. 5 stars
    We loved this! I literally drank the sauce. I went a little heavy on the garlic and didn’t get enough salt, but it was a wonderful side to Tuscan pork tenderloin medallions from Costco.

  6. 5 stars
    Wow! Amazing flavor. This is a dish I will continue to make. So easy and flavorful. I happened to have every ingredient on hand and just doubled the measurements for my big family. Thanks

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness this recipe is delicious!! So simple but so flavorful! I only had unsweetened full fat coconut milk on hand so I cannot imagine what it tastes like with the heavy whipping cream. I used chicken broth but will try the wine next time. This is a keeper!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.