tomato basil pasta

Tomato Basil Pasta

Here is a very easy and delicious way to make pasta in red sauce. What’s special about this recipe is that this tomato basil sauce is not limited to be paired with just pasta. It is multipurpose and can be used as a sandwich spread, a pizza topping or a lasagne sauce! The best part about this tomato basil sauce is that it can be stored for up to a week and it just gets better with time. So if meal prep is your jam, this is your recipe.

tomato basil pasta

With a handful of ingredients like tomato, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and basil that scream authenticity and comfort, this pasta is minimal. Since ingredients are a few, make sure you use the best quality to avoid any kind of compromise in taste.

How to Cook the Perfect Pasta Every Single Time

No one likes a plate of mushy broken pasta, and so, while it is important to put in our best efforts in perfecting the sauce, where the entire flavour lies, it is also extremely important to boil the pasta to perfection. It is not rocket science, just a few basic steps and you’ll have yourself perfectly cooked pasta every single time:

  •   Boil Water in a Large Pot

Always use a wide mouthed pot to boil pasta. It is important to fill up the pot with enough water so allow the pasta to drown and cook evenly. Lesser volume of water may result in the pasta getting extremely starchy, or worse – be left undercooked.

  •   Add Plenty of Salt 

Adding plenty of salt in the pasta water is non-negotiable. Make sure you add as much salt till the water starts to taste saline. Imagine you are having a clear soup and adjust the salt accordingly. Adding salt to the pasta water ensures that the pieces/strands of pasta do not remain bland  in the final dish. 

  •  Cook pasta till al dente

There is no universal rule to cook the perfect pasta, it completely depends on the brand or product you are using and it is advisable to cook as per the packet instructions. The most common way to cook pasta is until al dente, which loosely translates to “to the bite/tooth”, which means almost cooked but not completely cooked. Before the pasta is added to the sauce, it should still have a bit to it. The rest of it should cook along with the tomato sauce.

  •   Reserve Pasta Water

Saving a couple of ladles of pasta water goes a long way. Not only does the salty pasta water help flavour your sauce, but it also plays a major role, along with butter and olive oil, to bring that glossy magical finish to your pasta.

Ingredients in This Tomato Basil Pasta


In this recipe, I’ve used the local red tomatoes that we find easily in the Indian markets and it has turned out to be just so good. Tomatoes are just the right amount of sweet and sour that balances all the flavours in this sauce. The tomatoes go through a four step process to get this rich sauce made.

First, they are boiled in water till the skin starts to show slits. Second, they are transferred to ice cold water and the skin is peeled. Third, the tomatoes are blended to a fine paste and finally, the tomatoes are cooked in olive oil and reduced to a thick sauce.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Butter

This tomato basil pasta recipe is minimalistic in terms of ingredients, which is why quality should not be compromised. Make sure you use high quality extra virgin olive oil for this recipe to get the best flavours.


Garlic plays an important role in adding a lot of flavour to the simple tomato sauce. In pastas, the garlic is always slow cooked in the olive oil to give it enough time to release its flavour. We follow the same step with garlic in this recipe. The garlic is finely chopped and added to cold extra virgin olive oil. Then it is allowed to slow cook and take its time to release its oils into the pan.

Fusilli/Any Pasta of Choice

A variety of pasta formed into a corkscrew or helical shape, fusilli is used with cold salads with creamier dressing or with thick sauces as the twisted shape holds more flavour and sauce and is also aesthetically pleasing. Where I prefer fusilli with this pasta recipe as it soaks up the creamy, tangy tomato sauce with the freshness of basil really well, you can use any pasta of your choice. 

Italian Basil Leaves

Basil is a culinary herb used in almost all Italian recipes and several other cuisines worldwide. The flavour of basil is sweet and savoury, with hints of mint, anise, and pepper; however, the herb ultimately adds a hint of sweetness to any dish. While dried basil has more concentrated flavours and can be used in place of fresh, using fresh basil for your recipes is always better as dried uncooked herbs have a slight dusty taste to them and never fully substitute fresh herbs.

tomato basil pasta

Fresh Italian basil is so good- it adds a punch of flavour, smells delicious, and can add other dimensions to your dish. It is very easy to grow basil in your kitchen garden and pluck a fresh handful every time you need, just like me.

tomato basil pasta

Preparation time – 30 minutes

Cook time – 30 minutes

Serves – 8


  • 1.5 kg tomatoes
  • 90 g finely chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 40 g butter
  • Fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 400 g fusilli pasta, boiled 


  1. In a big pot of water, gently drop all your tomatoes. You can make little cross slits on the base of the tomato which may prove to be helpful while peeling the skin after boiling.
  2. Put it on the heat and let it boil for about 30 minutes till the skin of the tomatoes starts to wrinkle.
  3. Once the tomatoes are boiled, place each of them directly into ice-cold water so that they stop cooking.
  4. Once the tomatoes cool down and become easy to handle, peel the skin off each tomato and place the peeled tomatoes in a separate bowl.
  5. Put the peeled tomatoes in a blender and blend them into a fine paste. Do it in batches to avoid a mess.
  6. Now, finely chop the garlic. The finer it is, the easier it is for it to release its flavours into the sauce.
  7. Pour extra virgin olive oil into a pot and add the chopped garlic before turning on the heat. We need to slowly simmer the garlic and let it cook well and release its flavours into the oil. 
  8. Once the garlic starts to sweat, add in a big chunk of butter and let it melt. The butter lends more flavour to the oil as well as prevents burning.
  9. Be patient and cook the garlic in the oil and butter at low flame until the maximum flavour of garlic isn’t released into it.
  10. Once the butter is bubbling well, the raw smell of garlic is lost and the garlic starts to become very lightly golden around the edges, we add some chilli flakes to the oil.
  11. When the butter has browned and all the flavours have come together and filled the air around you is when we add the tomato paste.
  12. Cook the tomatoes, stirring regularly till it thickens and is reduced to almost ⅓ rd of its original volume. Make sure you use a heavy bottom pan otherwise your tomatoes might stick to the bottom and burn.
  13. Cover and cook the tomatoes for about 15-20 minutes till the sauce gets reduced further.
  14. Now is the time when you season the sauce with some salt and black pepper. Give it a very good mix and bring everything together.
  15. Top the sauce up with some roughly torn fresh basil leaves. I use the ones from my kitchen garden and I suggest you do not substitute it with dried basil because in that case the authenticity of the sauce will be lost. 
  16. At this point, the sauce has reduced and thickened beautifully.
  17. Now is the time we throw in the boiled pasta. Mix it well with the sauce ensuring every piece is coated well and let it cook in the sauce.
  18. Once the pasta is cooked well with the sauce, we add in a lot of grated cheese and mix it very well into the sauce. 

tomato basil pasta

tomato basil pasta

This tomato basil pasta pasta is so simple, hearty and effortless. Have it hot garnished with some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and a side of garlic bread. Or save it for the next day; it gets better with time. 

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