Deliciously rich pasta with cream sauce, tomatoes, and basil is made with simple ingredients and requires only 30 minutes of preparation. This delicious pasta recipe is made with homemade Parmesan cream sauce that has a delightful hint of garlic, and of course, fresh, aromatic tomatoes and basil! Make it with fettuccine, or any pasta of your choice for an easy dinner any day of the week!
Amazing Pasta with Cream Sauce
This dish is delicious no matter what time of year it is! However, I find myself enjoying this creamy pasta the most during the summertime. Why? It’s loaded with fresh tomato and basil flavor, of course!
Tomatoes and basil are both wildly abundant and fresh as can be this time of year, so it’s the perfect time to make this bright and fresh pasta dish. In fact, I sometimes toss a little extra basil and tomatoes into the mix, just to really drive that fresh flavor home.
Just because this pasta dinner is fresh and vibrant doesn’t mean it’s not also deeply satisfying and hearty, either. The creamy sauce that coats each and every bite is pretty decadent. While it’s rich with cheesy parmesan flavor, it also has a lovely amount of garlic that’s present throughout the sauce.
Any pasta will work with this pasta dish, but my favorite to use is fettuccine. This dish is reminiscent of fettuccine alfredo, but it has a bit more garlic and a bounty of summertime flavors that make it really stand out.
Ingredients For This Creamy Pasta Dish
- Pasta – Use your favorite type of noodle to serve as the base of this delicious dish. Feel free to use gluten free pasta if needed!
- Butter – To avoid the sauce being too salty, use unsalted butter.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to for this recipe.
- Shallot – You can either use one large shallot or two smaller ones. If you can’t get your hands on any shallots, half of a yellow onion will also work.
- Garlic – For the absolute best flavor, use fresh garlic cloves, not the pre-minced garlic from the little glass jars.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – This is a key ingredient to creating the thick, smooth, and silky sauce that makes this dish so irresistible!
- Pasta Water – The starchy water from the cooked pasta does wonders for the sauce! It helps the sauce get thicker, and it also helps it grip the noodles better.
- Parmesan Cheese – I like to grate my parmesan right off the block, as it really has the best flavor that way. If you wish, you can get freshly grated and shaved parmesan in the deli section of your grocery store.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes will also be fine. Just make sure that your tomatoes and ripe and fresh!
- Basil – Use fresh basil, not dried, for truly the most incredible summery flavor.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – This ingredient is optional, but I highly recommend it if you like spice! Just keep in mind that the more crushed red pepper you use, the hotter the dish will be. A little goes a long way!
Need Gluten Free?
If you need this pasta dish to be gluten free, simply use your favorite gluten free pasta. Add other ingredients are gluten free!
How to Make Pasta with Cream Sauce
Start by cooking the pasta and reserving a cup of the pasta water right before draining.
Prepare the shallots, garlic cloves, cherry tomatoes, and basil while the pasta is boiling. This is a very fast paced recipe, so it’s important to have your ingredients ready to go.
Parmesan Cream Sauce:
Add butter to a warm pan. Once it melts, sauté shallots with a little bit of olive oil. Add minced garlic to the shallots.
Once the garlic is fragrant, pour in the pasta water and heavy whipping cream. Lower the heat and season with some salt and pepper.
Add freshly grated or shaved parmesan to the mixture, stirring it in slowly until the cheese is fully incorporated into the sauce.
Finish Creamy Pasta:
Finally, toss the pasta, tomatoes and basil with the cheese sauce. Continue to stir and cook until the pasta is heated through.
Tips For The Best Pasta with Cream Sauce
- Prepare your ingredients before starting to cook because it’s a fast moving recipe.
- If you often forget to save pasta cooking water, I have a nifty tip for you! While the pasta is cooking, place a measuring cup inside the pasta strainer. That way, when you go to strain the pasta, you will see the measuring cup and remember to save some cooking water.
- Don’t let cream sauce boil! Remember to lower the heat to medium-low after adding the cream. Slow simmer is okay, but don’t let it boil.
- Use fresh ingredients like fresh grated parmesan, tomatoes, and basil. The flavor will be so much better and fresh grated parmesan melts much better. However, you can always pick up some fresh grated parmesan in the deli section of your grocery store to save yourself the trouble of grating it.
More Delicious Pasta Dinners:
Shrimp Pesto Pasta – a deliciously light summertime entrée with fresh ingredients like basil and garlic in the homemade pesto sauce and sautéed shrimp.
Pasta Primavera – this fresh, delicious Pasta Primavera dish is loaded with roasted vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, juicy ripe tomatoes, lemon, basil and Parmesan cheese flavors.
Lobster Pasta – a rich, creamy, and delicious seafood pasta dish with chunks of flavorful lobster meat and creamy Parmesan sauce.
Avocado Pasta Salad – this pasta salad tastes light and crisp and made creamy by mixing in ripe avocados.
Parmesan Cream Sauce Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
- 1 lb fettuccine or other pasta of choice
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 2 smaller ones
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4-1 cup pasta cooking water
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh minced basil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Cook pasta according to the package instruction and right before draining the pasta, scoop out a cup of pasta cooking water. (I often place a measuring cup into the pasta strainer, while I wait for pasta to cook, to remind myself to save some cooking water.) Strain pasta and set aside.
- This is a fast recipe so prepare the ingredients before starting to cook the sauce, while pasta is cooking. Measure what you need, slice shallots thinly, mince garlic cloves, cut cherry tomatoes in half, and minced basil.
- Preheat a large cooking pan over medium heat and add butter. Once butter is melted, add oil and shallot. Let shallot sauté until it's browned.
- Add minced garlic, stir and sauté until just fragrant.
- Pour in cooking water and heavy whipping cream. Lower the heat to medium-low, slowly stir, and add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the cream mixture in heated through, add fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Stir slowly and let the cheese incorporate and melt into the sauce.
- Add pasta back in along with tomatoes and basil. Use tongs to stir the pasta with sauce, tomatoes and basil. Cook just until pasta is heated through and serve!