Just six simple ingredients – ripe fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, kalamata olives, goat cheese, aromatic olive oil and your favorite pasta combine for a perfect weekday meal.
I’ve been playing with variations on this dish for years. It’s so commonplace at our dinner table that I’ve never thought to post a recipe until I had the task of coming up with a dish that uses good quality olive oil. Whenever I share this simple pasta dish with friends they’re surprised and delighted at how such a quick and simple meal can feel so perfect and complete.
Since the tomatoes are minimally cooked and the olive is drizzled ove the whole dish at the very end, two key factors to making Fresh Basil Tomato Pasta is to procure the best tomatoes you can get your hands on and the most fragrant, quality olive oil you can find.
In the peak of tomato season, I head to my local farmer’s market to find locally-grown, organic tomatoes for this pasta, but since it’s spring right now, I’m relying on the next best option – these local, greenhouse-grown cocktail tomatoes. For the best flavor, I encourage you to find the tastiest tomatoes you can get your hands on.
Equally important is the olive oil you use, which is the final ingredient that ties all the other flavors together. In this version, I used a fragrant, extra-virgin pictual olive oil, and this Fresh Basil Tomato Pasta never tasted so good! Pictual olive oil is smooth and buttery, with an overriding ripe black olive flavor that suits this dish perfectly. For best results, be mindful when choosing your olive oil for this simple dish.
If you want to keep things really simple (as I often do) you could opt for the most basic version of this dish – tomatoes quickly sauteed with slivers of fresh garlic and torn basil leaves served over pasta with olive oil. But if you happen to have kalamata olives and goat cheese on hand, I urge you to go for it. Not a fan of goat cheese? Try mozzarella, feta or shaved parmesan instead.
For me, angel hair is the perfect pasta for this dish, but feel free to experiment with whatever pasta feels right to you. I hope this simply delicious Fresh Basil and Tomato Pasta becomes a favorite in your home too. Let me know how it turns out in the comments below.
Easy Fresh Basil and Tomato Pasta
- 10 small ripe tomatoes like cocktail tomatoes or 6-8 large tomatoes, sliced into bite-size wedges
- about 8 large fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces
- 4 garlic cloves sliced into thin slivers
- 12 ounces of angel hair pasta or pasta of your choice
- 1 6.5 ounce jar kalamata olives
- 2.5 ounces of goat cheese
- coarse kosher salt to taste
- quality extra virgin olive oil
- In a large stock pot boil salted water for the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, toss with olive oil to prevent from sticking and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat place two tablespoons of olive oil. When the olive oil is warm (not smoking), place the slivered garlic and sautee for about 20 seconds (be careful not to brown or burn the garlic). Place the sliced tomatoes into the skillet and toss around the pan for about one minute, or until the tomatoes just begin to soften and release their juices. Add the torn basil to the tomatoes, toss quickly and remove the pan from the heat. Salt to taste.
- Portion out the pasta onto plates and top with the fresh tomato mixture. Add the kalamata olives and goat cheese and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.