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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe

Recipe At-A-Glance
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Vegetarian20 min
This creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is a family favorite for busy weeknights—it's sure to become one of yours, too.
A large serving spoon is tucked into a saucepan of creamy sun-dried tomato pasta, a sprig of fresh basil alongside.

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On busy weeknights, it’s important to have a quick dish you can whip up for your family that you know they’ll love. This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta checks all the boxes! It only takes 20 minutes from start to finish, there are no complicated ingredients, and it is all made in one pot. The sun-dried tomatoes add a tart brightness to an otherwise rich dish. This is not your average pasta meal!

Close view of a spoonful of creamy sun-dried tomato pasta.Overhead of ingredients for a pasta dish, including bowtie pasta, garlic cloves, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes

What do I need to make this sun dried tomato pasta dish?

To make this sun-dried tomato pasta recipe, you’ll need:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes—these can be canned in oil, or dried
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Minced garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole milk
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Bow tie pasta

If you’re having a hard time finding some of these ingredients fresh, don’t worry too much. You can use canned grated Parmesan cheese in place of the freshly grated in a 1:1 ratio. You can also substitute two tablespoons of dried basil for the ½ cup of fresh chopped basil. The flavor will stay the same—but you may notice a difference in the intensity and freshness of the recipe if you make these substitutions.

How do you soften dried tomatoes?

If you dehydrated your own tomatoes or otherwise have some dried, sun-dried tomatoes at home, you’ll need to soften them before using them in this recipe. You can do this in one of two ways. The most common way to rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes is to put them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them, and let them sit for half an hour to an hour.

You could also soften them on the stovetop by cooking them in olive oil. Using 1/3 cup of oil, cook your sun-dried tomatoes over medium heat alongside your minced garlic—step two of this recipe—until the tomatoes have softened. I find that rehydrating my dried tomatoes this way gives them a lot more flavor!

A large serving spoon is tucked into a creamy one-pot pasta dish, with a sprig of fresh basil alongside.

How do you make a creamy sun-dried tomato pasta sauce?

This recipe is creamy and filling—and it doesn’t take a lot of effort and time to make. There are really only a handful of steps, making it ideal for busy weeknights where you want good food without a lot of fuss.

  1. First, drain the sun-dried tomatoes—if you used tomatoes canned in oil—and give them a rough chop.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat, then add the tomatoes. After sautéing the tomatoes for a few minutes, add in the garlic and sauté for a minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add in your liquids, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, add in your dry noodles. Cover and simmer for seven to eight minutes.

I have the pasta sauce…now what?

One of my favorite things about this sun-dried tomato pasta recipe is that it’s a one-pot meal. That means fewer dishes for me, making this dinner even better for busy school nights. After you’ve made your sauce, the pasta cooks right in the sauce! This adds a richness to the recipe that you don’t get by cooking the pasta separately in boiling water.

  1. After your sauce has come to a boil, add in the dry noodles. Cover and cook for seven to eight minutes.
  2. Once the pasta is al dente, add the grated parmesan and the remaining milk. Stir until it’s smooth and creamy.
  3. Remove the sun-dried tomato pasta from the heat and stir in the red pepper flakes and chopped basil.
  4. Sprinkle on some additional parmesan with a pinch of salt, parsley, or even some cooked bacon if desired!

Wholefully Protip

This recipe calls for bowtie noodles—but you can use almost any type of noodle you have on hand. Rotini, macaroni, and penne pasta will also work well.

Tight view of a bite of creamy bowtie pasta and sun-dried tomatoes on a fork.

What should I serve with sun-dried tomato pasta?

This sun-dried tomato pasta recipe will taste delicious with just about any of your favorite side dishes. If you’re looking for a few ideas, here are some sides that I found pair particularly well with this creamy pasta dish.

How do I store the leftovers?

You can store leftover sun-dried tomato pasta in an airtight container in the fridge. Stored correctly, it’ll last two to three days. After this point, the noodles might become a little mushy, so it’s best to eat it as soon as you can.

Wholefully Protip

Because you cook this pasta directly in the sauce, it’s best not to store it in the freezer.

 

 
A large serving spoon is tucked into a saucepan of creamy sun-dried tomato pasta, a sprig of fresh basil alongside.

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is a family favorite for busy weeknights—it's sure to become one of yours, too.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces sundried tomatoes (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Drain the oil from the sundried tomatoes into a large pot. Chop the sundried tomatoes.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat, and add the tomatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic. Sauté for another minute.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups of whole milk along with 2 cups of water, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the dry bowtie pasta, cover, and cook until al dente (about 7-8 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 cup milk and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add the basil and red pepper flakes, and stir. Top with more Parmesan cheese and serve!

Notes

  • If using dehydrated tomatoes, use 1/3 cup of oil to sauté the tomatoes and garlic in step 2.
  • Penne, macaroni, or rotini noodles may be used in place of the bowtie noodles if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 857mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 9gSugar: 31gProtein: 28g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Kaitlyn Bain is a professional health and wellness writer with a passion for helping her clients educate their readers on healthy lifestyles. She loves cooking, reading, and exploring the outdoors on hikes with her family in Northern Ontario.

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