One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Y’all know I love one pot pasta meals, and I know a lot of you do too. They’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one little dish that needs to be cleaned at the end. Creamy one pot pastas, in particular, have become my go-to comfort food. This time I paired the tangy flavor of sun dried tomatoes with garlic and Parmesan for a simple but indulgent One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

Originally posted 11-1-2015, updated 5-17-2020.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Garlic and Parmesan

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta in a deep skillet with tongs, a bowl with garlic and dry pasta on the side

Changes to the Original Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe:

Many readers were having trouble with the original recipe, so I reformulated it a bit based on my experience creating one pot pastas since this recipe was originally posted (it’s now based on my One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta). In particular, many people were having trouble with their milk curdling or the sauce not coming out smooth. Here is what I changed to create better and more consistent results:

  • The milk is now added after the pasta simmers so the high heat and acidity from the tomatoes will not cause curdling.
  • A small amount of cream cheese is added to the sauce to help stabilize and emulsify the Parmesan into the sauce. 
  • I also added a healthy dose of dried basil for a little more flavor!

If you preferred the original version of this recipe, you can download it here.

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese is great and keeping milk based sauces smooth and to help cheese melt smoothly without clumpig. If you just can’t stand cream cheese, you can replace half of the milk with heavy cream. This reduces the water content in the sauce, which will help the Parmesan emulsify properly.

Can I Add Meat?

Yes, this recipe is extremely flexible and can be made with or without meat. If you’d like to add chicken, you can dice up the chicken and sauté it in the skillet with the garlic in the beginning, or simply add sliced grilled chicken to the finished pasta. Italian sausage might also be great with this sun dried tomato pasta. Simply brown it in the skillet in the beginning with the garlic. Bacon would also be quite tasty. Brown the bacon in the skillet before the garlic, and drain off the excess fat before continuing with the recipe.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pastas:

Getting one pot pastas just right can take some practice, so if you find you’re having trouble, here are a few tips:

  • Stir every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, or to itself.
  • After the pot has been brought to a boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, so the liquid is still simmering. If the liquid is not simmering, the pasta will not cook. The temperature setting can vary depending on your stove top and cookware.
  • Use heavy cookware. Skillets and pots that are thin on the bottom don’t heat evenly and do not yield good results with the one pot cooking method because some areas of the pot will be simmering, while other areas are not.
  • Keep the lid in place at all times when not stirring. This holds in the steam and helps the pasta cook more evenly.
  • Watch the pasta. One pot pastas are a little like riding a bike. You have to observe and adjust as you go. If the liquid is almost all absorbed before the pasta is tender, add a little more water. If the pasta is almost tender, but there is still a lot of liquid, allow it to simmer without a lid for the last couple of minutes.

Close up of tongs picking up a clump of creamy pasta from the skillet


Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.
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4.81 from 77 votes

One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

This incredibly fast and easy Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta cooks in 30 minutes and uses just one pot. The perfect quick and satisfying weeknight dinner! 
Total Cost: $4.22 recipe / $1.06 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes ($1.66)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 8 oz. fettuccine ($0.67)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 cups chicken broth* ($0.26)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese ($0.30)
  • 1 cups whole milk ($0.37)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)

Instructions

  • Chop the sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the butter and garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or until it is very fragrant.
  • Add the fettuccine, sun dried tomatoes, dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, and the chicken broth to the skillet. If needed, break the fettuccine in half to make sure it lays flat in the skillet and is submerged in broth.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low or the lowest setting that maintains a simmer.
  • Let the pasta simmer in the broth for 7-10 minutes, or until most of the broth is absorbed and the pasta is tender, stirring every couple of minutes and always replacing the lid.
  • Keeping the heat on low, cut the cream cheese into chunks and stir it into the pasta. Once the cream cheese has melted, add the milk and stir until a smooth sauce forms. Finally, add the grated Parmesan over top and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Serve with extra freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon soup base to make my broth.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 387.6kcalCarbohydrates: 51.9gProtein: 13.5gFat: 14.68gSodium: 651.33mgFiber: 2.75g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Scroll down for the step by step Photos!

Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.

Try These Other Creamy One Pot Pasta Recipes:

How to Make Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – Step by Step Photos

chopped sun dried tomatoes on a cutting board

Chop about ½ cup sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. You want a little bit in every bite, instead of a few larger pieces throughout. I used dried, non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes for this recipe because I find them easier to work with and the leftovers easier to store (no refrigeration needed).

Butter and Garlic in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp butter and two minced cloves of garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, or just until the garlic is a little softened and becomes really fragrant.

tomatoes, basil, pasta, and broth added to the skillet

Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, ½ tsp dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, 8oz. fettuccine, and 2 cups chicken broth to the skillet. If your skillet or Dutch oven is not wide enough for the pasta to lay flat and submerged in the broth, you’ll want to break the pasta in half so it fits (I ended up breaking mine in half just after this photo).

Cooked pasta in the skillet, tongs pulling the pasta aside to show the sauce in the bottom of the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low, or the lowest temperature that maintains a simmer. Continue to simmer the pasta for 7-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes (always replacing the lid), or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If the pasta dries out while it cooks, add a little more water. There should be a little bit of thick saucy liquid left in the skillet once the pasta is cooked.

Cream cheese added to the pasta in the skillet

Cut 2 oz. cream cheese into chunks, then stir it into the pasta until it has melted (still over low heat). Adding the cream cheese before the milk helps stabilize the sauce and prevent curdling.

Milk being poured into the skillet full of pasta

Once the cream cheese has melted into the pasta, add 1 cup milk and stir to combine.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled over the skillet

Finally, sprinkle ¼ cup grated Parmesan over the pasta, and stir until it has melted into the sauce (the pasta is still over low heat).

Finished creamy sun dried tomato pasta in the skillet

And now you have a deliciously creamy and slightly tangy sun dried tomato pasta in cream sauce!

Overhead view of the finished sun dried tomato pasta, dry pasta, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic on the side of the skillet

Season the pasta with more freshly cracked pepper, if desired, and serve!