Easy margherita pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and garlic. It comes together quickly and makes the perfect pasta meal!
Pair it with our Berry Spinach Salad for a delicious summer meal!
Craving fresh, easy dinnertime recipes this summer? Look no further. This margherita pasta is so delicious and easy to make. Just like our pasta with spinach and tomatoes, it’s a vegetarian summer pasta dish that packs so much flavor!
It’s made with juicy tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and penne pasta. With only 8-ingredients this pasta margherita will surely become your go-to weeknight recipe!
Pasta Margherita Ingredients
You’ll need eight simple ingredients to make margherita pasta:
- Pasta: Use penne pasta or any other short-cut pasta of choice.
- Butter: Butter not only adds a lot of flavor to this dish but also makes the sauce creamy and velvety.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is preferred. Take the time to peel and mince the garlic yourself. Avoid using jarred garlic.
- Red chili flakes: Chili flakes give the sauce just a slightly peppery taste. For less spiciness, use about 1/8 teaspoon of chili flakes.
- Tomatoes: Look for Roma tomatoes. They are plum, firm tomatoes with a sweet taste and low water content.
- Basil: Fresh basil livens up this pasta meal. For best flavor, avoid using dried basil.
- Sugar: Sugar cuts through the acidity and adds slight sweetness to the sauce. I like using cane sugar but you can use just about any sweetener of choice.
- Parmesan cheese: Buy a chunk of Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. It’s fresh and tastes so much better!
How to Make Margherita Pasta
This recipe is very simple and easy to make. Have all of the ingredients prepared before you start.
Cook the pasta in salted water. Add the salt when the water comes to a boil. Wait until the water returns to a full, rolling boil before putting in the pasta. Remember to reserve some of the pasta cooking water for the sauce before draining it.
Prepare the sauce. Use a large non-stick skillet big enough to hold the sauce and the pasta. Simmer the tomatoes just until slightly softened and heated through, about 2 minutes. Do not simmer for too long or you won’t have any sauce left.
Stir it all together. Combine the cooked pasta with the sauce. Add little bit of the reserved pasta water so it nicely coats the pasta. Stir in parmesan cheese, and add little bit more of the reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce.
Leftover pasta margherita makes an amazing leftover pasta frittata the next day. Just add some eggs and you have a delicious meal in no time. Serve it for a light lunch or Sunday brunch.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Love easy pasta recipes with little ingredients? Here are some to try:
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Spinach
- Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe
- Chicken Sausage and Broccolini Pasta
Easy and fresh summer pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and garlic. It comes together quickly and makes the perfect light meal.
- 8 oz. dry penne pasta
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 3 tsp. minced garlic, about 3 cloves
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/2 tsp. sugar or any other sweetener of choice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- Cook pasta until al dente in salted water according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Make sure the skillet is big enough to hold the sauce and pasta. Add garlic and chili flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant while stirring constantly.
- Add tomatoes, basil, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until tomatoes are slightly softened and heated through, about 2 minutes. Do not simmer for too long or you won’t have any sauce left.
- Drain the pasta reserving about 1/2 cup of water. Add pasta to the tomato sauce with a little bit of the reserved pasta cooking water, and stir until well coated and combined. Keep in mind that pasta will absorb some of the moisture and the sauce will thicken up.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese. You can add a bit more of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Pasta: Feel free to use any other short-cut pasta of choice.
- Butter: Butter provides flavor and creates a creamy velvety sauce. I do not recommend substituting butter with oil.
- Chili Flakes: This dish has a slightly peppery taste. Feel free to cut down the chili flakes to 1/8 teaspoon, especially if serving to kids.
- Protein (optional): For added protein, serve the pasta topped with sliced grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 375
- Sugar: 4.1 g
- Sodium: 178.9 mg
- Fat: 15.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 47.3 g
- Protein: 12.2 g
- Cholesterol: 37.7 mg
Recipe published 8/10/2015. Updated 6/29/2021.