A delicious, one pot (or pan) creamy fresh cherry tomato linguine using bright and colorful ingredients that you are going to love.
As we get into the later days of summer tomatoes abound in my household.
Got to use them up before the fruit flies have a field day!
I try to pump out as much tomato sauce as I have the energy to do. I want to have an abundant to supply my freezer for my family to savor throughout the winter.
Last year we had sauce and soup all the way into spring. It’s a super exciting feeling to eat your own tomato sauce in the middle of the polar vortex.
Not all the sauce goes directly to our freezer. We gotta enjoy some fresh too.
What we like to make is a one pot creamy tomato linguine that lets our homemade tomato sauce shine. The addition of some fresh halved cherry tomatoes, sweet basil and Swiss chard from the garden make this the freshest pasta dish of the summer.
One Pot Recipe
When creating this recipe I have three goals.
- Make it all happen in one pot or pan
- Have pasta be lightly sauce while still flavorful
- For the pasta to taste fresh
All three goals were accomplished and my finished product was as amazing as I was hoping. Here is how I did it step by step:
Cold Water Pasta Method
The key to making this a one pot meal is to cook the pasta in the same pot you are going to heat up your sauce in.
I learned from Alton Brown’s Cacio e Pepe recipe that I could cook pasta in just enough water to cover. I know that sounds crazy, but it really works well.
For the best pasta choose linguine made with bronze dies. The sauce will stick better.
Put the linguine in a wide pot or pan with enough water to cover. Add enough salt to make the water salty. This will flavor the pasta whike it cooks.
Using a pair of spring loaded tongs, move the pasta around frequently. If you do this it won’t stick.
Once the pasta has reached a boil, it’s time to lid up. Cover and reduce the heat so the pasta can simmer away til done.
The advantage of cooking the pasta on a simmer is that you can finish it slowly so you are less likely to overcook it due to the violence of boiling.
The time to cook the pasta wasn’t any different really than boiling a huge pot of water that takes a long time to come to a boil. By putting the pasta in cold water to start you are giving the pasta a head start.
I love adding fresh greens to pasta and pasta sauces. They are simple to just toss in at the last minute. You just need to “wilt” them.
The greens I like to use are Swiss chard, spinach, and kale. For this recipe I wanted to use colorful Swiss chard for that pop of color and because it’s what is growing best in my garden now. You can use any of them.
Removing the Stem from Swiss Chard
The stems of Swiss chard can be fibrous and get stuck in your teeth. I fold over the leaves and slice the stem off trying to get only the stem and not much of the leaf. The same thing can be done with kale, unless it’s baby kale and you won’t need to
Baby spinach you can just throw it as well.
Once the pasta is al dente, using your tongs remove the pasta from the water. Do not just dump the water down the drain. That water is full of starch from the pasta and I would save it to add to the tomato sauce in case you need to thin it out all.
Dump the pasta water into a bowl and set aside.
Never wash the pasta itself after you cook it. You don’t want to rinse any surface starch off because that is what will help the sauce adhere to the pasta.
Choose whatever tomato sauce you want. Homemade is best and is what I use. Add the tomato sauce to the pan and heat it up over medium heat.
At this point I added a bit of my pasta water because I didn’t want my sauce to get too thick and burn. Add in cherry tomatoes you cut in half, greens, and basil.
Once the tomatoes are warm and the greens have wilted, add in about 1/4 cup of heavy cream. The cream will not only add flavor but it balances the acidic of the sauce out nicely. If you have never put cream in your tomato sauce you are just going to love it.
Add the pasta back in. Swirl it around the tongs to coat all the pasta. All that is left is grabbing the plates and forks, and digging in.
Alternatives to Heavy Cream
If you don’t want to use heavy cream, you could also try:
- Greek Yogurt
- Sour Cream – works really well, just a dollop will do ya!
- Vegan Dairy Alternative – I haven’t tried myself yet but I beat coconut milk would be awesome.
For a real treat (this is optional) you can try frying the basil leaves in some oil to give them a mouth satisfying crunch.
I use a combo of purple ruffle basil and a traditional sweet basil from my gardens. The purple basil added a striking color and a slightly different flavor.
If you want to go with that BLT type of flavor, cook up some bacon and crumble in when it’s time to serve.
Other Pasta Recipes You Might Like
One Pot Creamy Tomato Linguine
- 2 cups tomato sauce homemade
- 1 pound linguine
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard, Kale, or Spinach stems removed, leaves sliced in half if large
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large, wide pan place the linguine and fill with enough water to just cover.
- Add salt to the water til it tastes salty.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir frequently, so pasta doesn't stick.
- Once you reach a boil stir again, and reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on over the pot.
- When the pasta is al dente, remove the pasta with tongs and place on a plate or bowl. Don't dump the water, pour it out into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the tomato sauce to the pan. Heat up over medium heat. Add a little bit of the pasta water (if necessary) at a time to keep the sauce from burning or becoming too thick.
- Once the sauce is hot, doesn't need to be boiling, add in the spinach/kale/chard, fresh basil, and halves cherry tomatoes. Simmer until the greens have wilted.
- Stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Add the linguine back in. Toss with tongs to coat. Serve.
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