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Impress your date with this rich and savory Garlic Tomato Pasta. Made with 7 simple ingredients, the bites of juicy tomatoes, bacon, and fresh basil are satisfying and don’t lack any flavor.
My easy Garlic Tomato Pasta is proof you don’t need a long list of ingredients to make a deeply flavorful meal. Every bite showcases a bit of sweet and savory, with tender cooked pasta, juicy cherry tomatoes, and salty bacon. It’s the essence of Italy in one bowl!
This recipe is a great starting point when you want to cook an outstanding meal but aren’t sure where to begin. You can’t go wrong when combining pasta with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil! Throw a little crispy bacon in the mix and you have an impressive dinner that’s date night approved.
- Rich and bold flavors in every bite.
- The perfect meal for date night. It pairs beautifully with a glass of Merlot!
- All you need are 7 simple, fresh ingredients.
- Pasta - I like the long, wide noodles for this dish but any kind will work. Gluten free noodles work too!
- Bacon - Or use pancetta.
- Tomatoes - Cherry or grape tomatoes preferably.
- Basil - Fresh is best!
- Garlic - The more garlic, the better.
- Spinach - For some added nutrition and color. Swap it for arugula or kale if you prefer.
- Whole canned tomatoes - For extra tomato-goodness and lots of texture.
Step 1: Cook the pasta. Boil the pasta noodles according to the package instructions.
Step 2: Cook the bacon. Place the bacon pieces in a skillet and cook until they’re crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate.
Step 3: Sauté the tomatoes. In the same skillet, sauté the grape tomatoes, garlic, and basil in the leftover bacon grease. After a few minutes, stir in the spinach and canned tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts.
Step 4: Assemble. Combine the cooked pasta and bacon in the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and serve with parmesan cheese.
Tips and tricks
- Roasting the tomatoes will give this pasta recipe even bigger, bolder flavors.
- Cut the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces before frying.
- Make it extra creamy by stirring in fresh parmesan cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, burrata, or shredded mozzarella.
Can it be made vegan?
Sure! Omit the bacon entirely and make sure you’re using egg-free noodles. Saute the tomatoes in olive oil instead of bacon grease.
How long does it last?
Pasta with tomatoes and spinach is best when eaten hot and fresh, but the leftovers will last for a few days. Just keep them in a sealed container in the fridge.
To reheat, heat the pasta with some additional oil or tomato sauce in a skillet over medium heat or for a few minutes in the microwave.
More pasta dinners
Garlic Tomato Pasta
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions; drain and set aside.
- While the water is boiling for the pasta, add the bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy; use a slotted spoon to remove it, reserving the bacon grease.
- Add the grape tomatoes, garlic and basil to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes, then add in the spinach and canned tomatoes and stir for 1 minute until the spinach is wilted.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the skillet, along with the bacon, and stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (optional), and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in September 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in July 2021.