Tomato Basil Penne

Last week, my sister-in-law in Oregon had asked to see pictures of our new yard pets and when I sent her the photos, she noted our basil bush behind the chickens. That led to a conversation on how many grape tomatoes we have to eat. I mean, let’s face it, there’s only so many little tomatoes you can put into a bento each week. With that, she suggested a recipe that they use that is simple, easy, and uses a whole lot of grape tomatoes!

Fresh Harvest

The recipe also calls for fresh basil, so I proceeded to pick all the tomatoes that were in danger of falling down. (There were already almost a dozen that fell.) I picked one of the big tomatoes, the tiny rubbish tomatoes out by the clothesline, and basil leaves. I took a picture with just one large tomato and then Buddy came into the kitchen to scold me for not putting the one that fell down earlier while Mr. Pikko was watering. He kindly put it in and instructed me to take another photo. ^_^

I cut the tomatoes in half while Baby Girl helped peel the garlic, which she was happy to do, but made sure to tell me that garlic is “gross”. The two of them washed the basil while I chopped up the garlic. It was really so simple. I cooked the garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then added the tomatoes and 1/3 cup of the pasta water.


It smelled so great at this point. I seasoned with salt and pepper, then drained the pasta. Once the tomatoes were heated through, I poured it over the pasta and mixed it up, added chopped basil, and then sprinkled shredded mozzarella cheese over it.

Tomato Basil Pasta

The results were very yummy and water boiling time aside, I think this took only about half an hour to cook. I seasoned with salt to taste afterward and although Mr. Pikko balked at there being no meat in dinner, he still liked it and took delight in having a dinner made up of his tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Since the recipe is so easy, I don’t think my sis-in-law will mind if I post the recipe:

Tomato Basil Penne


  • 12-16 oz penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
  • 3-4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in skillet and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add tomatoes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Pour over pasta in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in basil and top with cheese.

7 thoughts on “Tomato Basil Penne”

  1. Instead of (or maybe in addition to) mozzarella cheese you should try parmesan cheese in this recipe. Classic flavor combo!

  2. If you have a super surplus of tomatoes, you could also make your own tomato sauce:
    And if you don’t know what to do with your basil gone wild, you can make pesto. It may need a lot of oil to make but you only end up using a tiny bit of the finished product and it goes a long way in pasta dishes, sandwiches, and any dish in general (and tomatoes ^_~)

  3. I had wanted to make pesto, but then I read that you need to use pine nuts. My daughter is allergic to nuts. 🙁

  4. Aw, sorry to hear she’s allergic to nuts.
    Traditionally, yep, you use pine nuts, but I’ve cheated and used pistachios, almonds, walnuts, even toasted pumpkin seeds. Basically whatever was around. Pine nuts are expensive (1lb for $24? No thanks.) and I’ve heard some people who eat them experience a weird metallic taste.

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