Tomato Balsamic Pasta is prepared with chopped fresh tomatoes and garlic, lots of grated parmesan cheese, and perfectly cooked pasta. With an olive oil and balsamic base, this pasta is super easy, delightfully fresh, and tastes like summer in a bowl!
TOMATO BALSAMIC PASTA
This is one of those pasta dishes that started out as a need to use up a bunch of tomatoes before they spoiled. The result, however, is one of the most satisfyingly delicious pasta dishes. It’s partly because it was so easy, but partly because the dish is simple and fresh, but tastes like a million bucks. Tomato Balsamic Pasta will be in regular rotation in our home!
We always have fresh tomatoes on hand. McKenna and I love tomatoes, however, John.e doesn’t care for them that much. He will eat them cooked and sliced on a sandwich, but never on their own. I can make an entire meal out of sliced tomatoes, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and little bit of olive oil!
Two years ago, I found a big, elongated wooden bowl that had been crafted from a large tree trunk. It’s basically hollowed out, sanded, and oiled. I keep my tomatoes and garlic in it all year round. We have a bay window in our kitchen that looks out into the backyard. It’s a perfect place for fresh tomatoes to soak up the warm sun even in the coldest months.
Because the bowl is so big, I often buy more tomatoes than I need, because I like the way it looks. That is why I oftentimes find myself trying to use them up in a hurry. Moving forward, I think I’ll just make Tomato Balsamic Pasta over and over again. Problem solved!
LET’S TALK ABOUT TOMATOES
Any tomato – all varieties – will work in this dish. My favourite type of eating tomato are the tomatoes on the vine. I think they taste sweeter that other local tomatoes. If I’m simmering a sauce all day, or if I’m canning with tomatoes, I always use roma tomatoes. They have thicker walls and less pulp/water content.
I would certainly consider using grape or cherry tomatoes. Just give them a good wash and cut them in half. Larger tomatoes such as a beefsteak or hot house tomato is good too. Again, wash them well. Remove and discard the core. Then, just a rough chop will do the trick.
Since there are very few ingredients, try to use tomatoes that are super fresh and bright red. A bright red tomato is the best way to be sure it’s perfectly ripe. It should have a good weight to it and it should smell like a tomato.
Any pasta will do well in this recipe. But, for maximum flavour, you want to use a pasta that will hold on to that delicious sauce. Pastas like spaghetti, linguine, parppardelle, etc., are all great pasta options. But, they have one thing in common. The surface of those pastas are flat. A flat pasta means that the sauce can run off more easily. You want to use a pasta that the sauce will stick too.
Look closely at pastas like rigatoni, fusilli, or penne. They all have a ridged surface. Not only does the pasta sauce get into those ridges, but they also hang onto things like the bits or garlic, the grated parmesan, and just about anything else in your sauce.
In my dish, I’m using succhietti. It’s a long, curly tubular pasta. It’s my favourite pasta to use in a dish like this. Not only does it have a surface with ridges, but it also has curly shape that traps in those chunks of tomatoes.
As you can tell, we have a favourite brand of pasta. La Molisana is our go-to brand, but we oftentimes purchase other brands as well. Just FYI, this post is not sponsored by La Molisana. It’s just our favourite brand. You go right ahead and use your own favourite brand.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Pasta – Read my notes above about the best pasta shapes for holding onto sauce.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is a must for this dish!
- Tomatoes – Any tomatoes will do. You will need two heaping cups of chopped tomatoes.
- Olive oil – I can’t imagine pasta without olive oil!
- Balsamic – To be honest, I actually do not like balsamic in most recipes, but it works so well in this dish!
- Parmesan – Lots of parmesan! Please try to use parmesan that comes in a wedge. Pop it in your food processor and pulse it until it has the consistency of wet sand. Avoid the parmesan in shaker cans if possible.
- Seasoning – Salt and pepper, of course! Lots of ground black pepper. As an option, you can add some dried red chili flakes for a bit of heat too.
- Garnish – I love fresh parsley in pasta dishes. You could use fresh basil too.
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO BALSAMIC PASTA:
Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside. Do not fully cook; the pasta should still be firm and have a bit of bite to it. The pasta will cook further later in the recipe.
In a large skillet, add the olive oil and garlic. Over medium heat, cook until the garlic is a light golden colour and is very fragrant. Do not overcook the garlic. It will become bitter.
Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, dried red chili flakes (if using), salt, and ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Allow tomatoes to sit in the hot oil for 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and transfer the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet. Toss well in the hot oil and tomato mixture. Next, add in half of the parmesan and toss to combine. Allow pasta to rest for 1-2 minutes before adding the remaining parmesan and tossing again. Plate and garnish with more parmesan, and chopped fresh parsley or basil.
Tomato Balsamic Pasta
- 450 grams pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (heaping cups)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
- Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside. Do not fully cook; the pasta should still be firm and have a bit of bite to it. The pasta will cook further later in the recipe.
- In a large skillet, add the olive oil and garlic. Over medium heat, cook until the garlic is a light golden colour and fragrant. Do not overcook the garlic. It will become bitter.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, dried red chili flakes (if using), salt, and ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Allow tomatoes to sit in the hot oil for 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet. Toss well in the hot oil and tomato mixture.
- Next, add in half of the parmesan and toss to combine. Allow pasta to rest for 1-2 minutes before adding the remaining parmesan and tossing again.
- Plate and garnish with more parmesan, and chopped fresh parsley or basil. Serve while still warm.