I’m about to go on vaaaaaycation! So naturally I have one thousand things to do before I leave and can’t be bothered with cooking anything complicated. Well, whether you’re in the middle of that pre-vacation chaos or life is plenty chaotic enough as it is, you’re going to love the simplicity of this Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta. Because pasta doesn’t have to have a million ingredients to be good. Just a few fresh flavors and you’re set.
Isn’t Fresh Basil Expensive?
Yeah, I know, I rarely use this ingredient because it’s definitely one of the most expensive items in the produce department, but let me explain. While I did splurge on a little clamshell of it this time (organic, no less), I’m sure there are plenty of you who have basil plants, or friends with basil plants, who can probably get fresh basil for next to free. In fact, my grocery store often sells little basil plants for the same price as this little clamshell of basil sprigs. So grab yourself a plant if you have some place to put it! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. ;)
What Kind of Tomatoes to Use
Yes, if you have other types of fresh tomatoes you can certainly use them, although the small varieties like grape or cherry tend to be a bit sweeter. But you can bet that as soon as my tomato plants start producing I’m going to be making this at least once per week with whatever size tomatoes come off that vine! 😅Just chop your tomatoes into one-inch pieces before adding them to the skillet.
Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta
- 12 oz. pasta (any shape) ($1.00)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.26)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 2 pints grape tomatoes ($3.98)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely packed ($2.49)
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta ($0.57)
- salt & pepper to taste ($0.10)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Reserve about one cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the recipe. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and slice or roughly chop the basil. Mince the garlic.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and sauté for just one minute to take the raw edge off the garlic.
- Add the grape tomatoes and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Stir to combine, then place a lid on the skillet and let the tomato simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the tomatoes simmer just until they begin to break down and they have released their juices. The tomatoes should just be beginning to lose their shape and their skins should appear a bit wrinkled.
- Turn the heat off and add the butter, most of the basil (save some to garnish with), and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir until the butter is melted, then taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. You want it to be slightly on the salty side, as the saltiness will dilute a bit once it's combined with the pasta.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat the pasta in the tomato sauce. Add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water if the mixture appears dry.
- Top the pasta with dollops of ricotta, a little more pepper, and any reserved basil, then serve!
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How to Make Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta – Step by Step Photos
Begin cooking your pasta first because you can complete the rest of the recipe in the time that it takes for your pasta to cook. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 12oz. pasta (any shape), then continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Reserve about a cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
Meanwhile… Slice two pints of grape tomatoes.
Slice or roughly chop about 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves.
Mince two cloves of garlic. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and sauté for only about a minute to take that raw edge off the garlic.
Next, add the sliced tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
Place a lid on the skillet and let the tomatoes simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they begin to break down. You want them right at the point where they are losing their shape and their skins look a bit wrinkly. Remember to keep the lid on so the moisture stays in the skillet and creates that beautiful sauce.
Here’s a close up of what that buttery, tomatoey, garlicky sauce looks like. Mmmmm.
Turn the heat off. Add 1 Tbsp butter, the basil, some freshly cracked pepper, and another pinch of salt. Stir until the butter is melted. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. You want to slightly over salt the sauce because the saltiness will dilute once the sauce is combined with the pasta.
Stir in the cooked and drained pasta. If your pasta looks a bit dry, add a splash or two of that reserved pasta water to loosen it up.
Lastly, add about 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta in 1 Tbsp dollops over the pasta. Finish it off with a final dose of freshly cracked pepper and any remaining basil. Serve and enjoy!
Nom nom nom! So light and fresh! Perfect for summer!!