This garlic butter pasta is lightened up with fresh tomatoes and plenty of spinach. So easy and fast! Perfect for busy weeknights.
This homemade pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes and spinach is great for warmer days or when you're feeling like something that's still comforting but on the lighter side. Yes, it still has plenty of butter, but the tomatoes and spinach give a freshness to it. As the sauce cooks, the tomatoes release their juices, and you're left with a delicious garlicky, buttery tomato sauce. The perfect meatless meal.
This fresh tomato pasta with garlic butter is best when tomatoes are in season during the summer months, but I've made it in winter and it still is very good.
How to make garlic butter pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes
Making this dish is easy! Boil your pasta and make the sauce while it's cooking. To make the sauce, you simply cook the tomatoes in a skillet with butter, olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and Italian seasoning until they're nice and soft and have released their juices. Stir in the spinach until it's wilted, reserve 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and add it to the skillet, then drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the parmesan cheese. Toss it all together, season with salt & pepper as needed, and enjoy. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- What kind of tomatoes to use? I used an assortment of multi-colored little tomatoes (various kinds), but cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or even chopped regular tomatoes would work fine. Whatever looks good and ripe.
- Got some fresh basil? Throw it in just before tossing it with the pasta. You could certainly swap the dried herbs for fresh ones if you happen to have some on hand.
- If you want to add some protein, you could stir in some shrimp (they cook quite fast so adding them wouldn't be an issue) or some already cooked/rotisserie chicken.
- I used linguine, but feel free to use whatever pasta you have on hand/is your favorite. I recommend longer shapes for this one (spaghetti, bucatini, etc.).
- I always recommend grating your own parmesan cheese. It tastes and melts better. I keep a block in my fridge (sometimes multiple... what can I say?) at all times. I love my Microplane to grate the cheese.
- For my recipes that call for minced or crushed garlic, I simply use my favorite garlic press and it's super quick (you don't even need to peel it!).
Love that garlic & butter combo? You may also like:
Questions about this garlic butter sauce for pasta? Talk to me in the comments below!
Garlic Butter Pasta with Tomatoes & Spinach
- 8 ounces pasta (I used linguine)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 5-6 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces little tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.) cut in halves
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, when the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being cooked, start the sauce. Add the olive oil and butter to a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning to the skillet and cook until the tomatoes have become very soft (about 4-5 minutes). You may need to turn the heat down a bit (don't let all the liquid bubble off).
- Stir in the spinach and let it cook for a minute or two until it's wilted.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and add it to the skillet, then drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta with the sauce (ensure the parm has melted in smoothly), season with salt & pepper, and serve immediately.
- Use whatever tomatoes look best/you can find. Anything in the ballpark of 12 oz. will work fine.
- This recipe is great with fresh basil if you have some!
- 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.