Tomato Basil Pasta

Tomato Basil Pasta is a simple yet delightful dish that showcases the perfect combination of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and a hint of tangy parmesan cheese. This easy dinner recipe is sure to impress with its satisfying flavors and textures.

What’s your favorite pasta dish? When I was younger, it was anything super cheesy and greasy. Now, I find that I’m enjoying lighter dishes. (Okay, my stomach much prefers them.) 😉

For today’s dinner idea, I thought I’d share a light, tasty, and still-satisfying Tomato Basil Pasta. The sauce is made with simple ingredients, the flavor is surprisingly good, and you’ll have everyone asking for more.

Tomato Basil Pasta ingredients including spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, parmesan and more laid out on a table

Everything You Need to Make Tomato Basil Pasta

  • Pasta – I love using spaghetti in this recipe, but you can use your favorite pasta.
  • Olive oil – use extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic – Erik likes to use freshly minced garlic (okay, who actually “likes” to heehee) but you can use store bought minced garlic in a pinch.
  • Tomatoes – I prefer cherry or grape tomatoes in this dish
  • Red pepper flakes – feel free to omit if you’re sensitive to heat, but the spice isn’t very noticeable.
  • Salt and pepper – you can add salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil – be sure to pick fresh basil for bright flavor in this dish.
  • Parmesan cheese: use freshly-grated parmesan
close up of hand sprinkling parmesan over tomato basil pasta

What is Tomato Basil Pasta?

Tomato basil pasta is a simple pasta dish that’s perfect for dinner or lunch.

In today’s tomato basil pasta recipe, we’re keeping this pasta dish very simple with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes for the sauce, and spaghetti with fresh basil to finish off the dish.

Looking for a soup to pair with this pasta? Try this Tomato Mascarpone Soup to really round out dinner. It also goes so well with this creamy, dreamy Garlic Butter Pasta or a simple salad topped with my homemade Italian dressing.

How to Make Tomato Basil Pasta

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to cook this simple and elegant pasta dish chockfull of healthy ingredients that’ll brighten your dinner table.

I love making this pasta dish when I’m not in the mood for a fussy, mile-long ingredient list dinner. It’s simple and easy!

Cook the Pasta

First, bring a large pot of water to boil, then add in a pinch of salt and the pasta.

Cook the pasta until it’s nearly tender. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Two photos showing How to Make Tomato Basil Pasta – cooking pasta

Make the Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, make the pasta sauce. Cook minced garlic until fragrant.

Cooking up minced garlic for the tomato basil pasta in a stainless steel skillet

Then, add in tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Cook until tomatoes are soft and bursting.

Two photos showing How to Make Tomato Basil Pasta – adding salt and cooking tomatoes

Then, grab a fork and smush about two-thirds of them to create the tomato sauce. You can smash them all, but I like keeping some intact for the final dish.

Hand using a fork to smash tomatoes into the sauce cooking on a skillet

Add Pasta to the Sauce

Now, grab your drained pasta and add it to the sauce you just made.

Top with Basil and Parmesan

Lastly, add in fresh basil and parmesan and stir to combine.

Hand sprinkling parmesan over fresh basil and spaghetti over tomato basil pasta

Enjoy the Best Tomato Basil Pasta

Take a step back and enjoy the beauty of the dish you just created! Well done, you!

What Tomatoes to Use?

I favor using cherry or grape tomatoes in making this basil tomato pasta. They’re small, juicy, and just the right amount of sweet.

In a pinch, you can use roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, and more.

super close up photo of this Italian dinner recipe to show al dente spaghetti

How to Adjust this recipe to your liking

Leave out the Parmesan

Not a fan or parmesan? Feel free to leave it out of this dish! You can add in fresh mozzarella when serving, sub the parm with vegan parm, or skip it altogether.

Roast the Garlic

Have you ever roasted garlic? Freel free to swap the minced garlic with mashed up roasted garlic.

Increase the pepper, or skip it altogether

For a nice little kick, feel free to add more red pepper flakes—the amount I used is for a tiny flavor boost, not for spice. Alternatively, if you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to skip the red pepper flakes.

Add protein

This tomato basil pasta dish is made to be easily customized to your liking! Feel free to add your favorite protein, cooked and served on the side.

The finished Italian dinner recipe in a skillet with forks, plates, and a napkin for serving

What to Serve with Tomato Basil Pasta?

Garlic Bread
I recently shared this roasted garlic bread recipe for a large, beautiful loaf of garlic bread with butter. Also try my favorite garlic toast, made with olive oil. 😉

Pesto Pasta Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad is a yummy cold pasta side dish to compliment your tomato basil pasta.

Veggie Sides
Try serving this pasta dish with a bounty of mouthwatering vegetable side dishes, including: Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Chickpea Salad, and Roasted Bell Peppers.

Make your dinner special with a few of these wonderfully mixed drinks: Penicillin Cocktail Recipe, The Gold Rush Cocktail, Salty Dog, and Dirty Martini.

Tools You Need

What Did You Think?

Erik and I are always trying new recipes in the kitchen, tweaking, making, and re-making delicious meals to help make your dinner time easier. Let me know how we’re doing in the comments below—it really does help us know if you’re liking what we’re serving up. 😉 ‘Til the next one…

Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter ❤️

🍅 📸 🍝

📸 Did you make this dinner recipe? Take a pic and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #beamingbaker & tag @beamingbaker. I’d love to see it! 📸

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A skillet filled with Tomato Basil Pasta

Tomato Basil Pasta

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5 from 5 reviews


You’ll love this deliciously simple Tomato Basil Pasta that’s packed with juicy cherry tomatoes, aromatic fresh basil, and a touch of tangy parmesan. Easy dinner recipe!




  • Salt
  • ½ lb pasta (penne, cavatappi, choose your fave)

Tomato Basil Sauce

  • 23 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (skip if sensitive to heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/3 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh basil, chopped, and more for topping
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, or to taste, more for topping


  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in a big pinch of salt. Add in pasta. Cook until nearly tender, but still firm (al dente). Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the tomato basil sauce. Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn, about 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened and tomatoes burst, about 4-5 minutes. Using a fork, mash about 2/3 of the tomatoes to release juices and create a chunky sauce. I like to keep 1/3 intact because it’s delicious & pretty.
  4. Add drained pasta, 1 cup fresh basil, and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. If needed, add reserved pasta water to thin out sauce to preference. Turn off the heat and stir to combine.
  5. Taste and adjust as needed by adding salt and pepper.
  6. Serve in pasta bowls with roasted garlic bread. Top with parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dishes, Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Like this recipe? Share it with friends!

Did you make this recipe? Take a pic and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #beamingbaker & tag @beamingbaker. I’d love to see it!

This post may contain affiliate links, which allow me to make a small commission for my referral, at no additional cost to you.

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