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recipe: tomato & basil pasta

June 3, 2011

So, in honor of this blog’s new look, I thought I would share with you this easy dinner recipe. It’s a mix between my friend Renee’s recipe and Olive Garden’s capellini pomodoro. A while back I posted a version of this dish (I think this new one is way better), back when raw tomatoes still gave me the heebee-jeebees. Alas, I think I’ve conquered the tomato! Well, almost – I think I will have conquered the tomato when I finally eat a BLT, complete with a thick tomato slice. My husband has acknowledged, though, that I have come a long way – and I really have! I feel like I’ve conquered the green vegetables . . . And now I’m working my way through the reds. Wish me luck, hehe.

Anyways, this dish is really easy to make and the ingredients are simple, nothing fancy here. This serves 2 very hungry people (like how we were last night) and I suppose it could be a bit healthier by not using as much butter and using whole wheat spaghetti instead of the traditional kind. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. Or, you gotta have some butter sometime 🙂

Tomato & Basil Pasta
Serves 2


  • half a box of angel hair pasta
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp minced garlic (or more, if you dare)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt (table or kosher – either is fine)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions. (When I cooked the angel hair spaghetti and drained it on a colander, the pasta stuck together so I drizzled a small bit of olive oil and used a fork to separate the strands. If you can cook angel hair pasta well, you don’t have to do what I did.) Drain and set aside.

2.  On medium-low heat, melt butter in a small pan. When butter has melted all the way, add garlic. (Next time I make this, I’m adding more garlic! Whooooaaa, I can’t believe I just said that. More garlic. Who am I?!) Cook butter and garlic for about 5 more minutes, making sure that it doesn’t burn in the pan.

3.  Placing the angel hair pasta in a large bowl, carefully drizzle butter & garlic mixture. Add the diced tomatoes and basil, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh parmesan cheese.

Ohmygosh, my mouth is salivating thinking about this dish. Since it IS very buttery, we won’t eat this too often, like, maybe not 3 x a week or anything like that. But maybe once a week? Accompanied by fish oil pills? Okay, sounds good.

On another note, I feel very proud of myself for having kept up with my running. I admit, it’s a bit disheartening not running with my old class – I really enjoyed everyone’s company and motivation! However, I’ve managed to get a couple of runs in during the week, and swimming once a week. “Swimming” I should say – as I use a kickboard to work my legs and a noodle (the foam kind, not the semolina kind) to work my arms. My co-worker Julie is a swimmer so I take notes from her when we swim. Boy, is it hard! Sometimes I have to stop in the middle of the lane to catch my breath. Totally different from running. I feel like such a weakling when it comes to swimming. Thankfully I feel much stronger in running. I have to repeat it to myself sometimes that “I can do this. I can do this.” It’s very easy to get discouraged, you know?

I’ve been trying run once or twice week at least a fast mile. So far, the fastest I have done is around an 8:30 min/mile pace. Not bad at all! Today after work, I was able to do the first mile in 8:32, the second mile in 9:36 and the third mile in 9:41 – a total of 3 miles in 27:48. I’m pleased with that, considering I felt tired and sooo didn’t even want to go running. I’m looking forward to a long run on Sunday with some friends so we’ll see what next week holds.

But wait! You didn’t think I was through, did you? I did mention a giveaway in my last post. Because last night’s dinner was topped off with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, I am going to give away a brand new microplane grater. Have you ever used one before? Whaaat? You’ve never heard of it before? Let’s stop right there. Make sure you enter this giveaway! Because a microplane grater will change your life. (Okay, maybe not CHANGE your life, but it’s so much better than using a box grater!)

I first heard of the microplane grater from my sister-in-law Sarah. She told me that grating cheese is easier to do with this grater. I’ve always used a box grater and would get frustrated that the cheese would get stuck or my fingers would get scraped or it was difficult to hold the grater properly. At any rate, I hardly used my box grater (I don’t even know where it is now) and would just purchase shredded cheese at the store. I also never used whole wedges of cheese. I thought only fancy people did that! Well, Sarah will be the first to tell you that she is NOT fancy but she does appreciate good cheese. She introduced me to using fresh cheese in my cooking and using the microplane grater to shred said cheese. Let me tell you – grating hard cheeses has never been easier! You can also use it as a zester. Oh I wish more people used a microplane grater.

Now that I’ve told you about my love for this kitchen tool, here’s the deal about the giveaway. You must do the following:

1) Leave a comment on this particular post.
2) Leave your name (and your email address & web/blog address if you have one).
3) Leave me a sentence (or two, or three, or more if you’re long-winded like me, hehe) answering this question: What is your favorite, easy, HEALTHY, go-to recipe that you MAKE for dinner?

That’s it! I’ll give everyone until Sunday 12 PM to leave their comment. I’ll pick a comment by random and will announce the winner later that day or by Monday at the latest. And just so you know, I am not being paid or sponsored by the makers of the microplane grater. I just love the grater so much and I want you to know of this love as well 🙂

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Ess permalink
    June 3, 2011 3:12 am

    1. Sweet another recipe I’ll be saving to add to my menu for next week! 🙂
    2. Shawna Johnsen (
    3. Thanks to you I roast asparagus and zucchini(sp??) at least once a week if not more. Yum! When it was colder I was making Taco Soup at least once a week in the crock pot, that stuff is the bomb diggity at our house. And I started using ground turkey in place of ground beef…..I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had ground beef…….
    4. PS. I like the new look. 🙂

    • June 5, 2011 6:09 pm

      Thanks, Shawna! Hehe – isn’t the asparagus and zucchini great roasted? And when it’s winter time, I’m like you, I’ll def. be making soup. (Thanks for the compliment!)

  2. June 3, 2011 3:27 am

    Looks delicious! My favorite healthy meal is a vegetarian chili. I’m a big soup lover and I can sneak lots of veggies into a chili. My son loves it and he never knows he’s eating zucchini! BWA HAHA.

    heidabear at

    • June 5, 2011 6:11 pm

      Hi Heidi, thanks for leaving a comment! What a great idea of “sneaking” veggies – kids can be so picky. Hehe. Do you have a specific recipe that you follow? I’d love to look at it.

  3. June 3, 2011 3:59 am

    1. I ❤ tomato & basil. YUM
    2. Cristi Marashi (
    3. Favorite healthy meal I make right now is probably mini turkey tacos in wonton wrappers. they are so yummy. I recently tried it with black beans and it was almost as equally delicious. All of my kids devour them.
    …What a fun giveaway! 🙂

    • June 5, 2011 6:12 pm

      Hi Cristi, thanks for your comment! turkey tacos in wonton wrappers? I am interested! 🙂

  4. June 3, 2011 12:59 pm

    I absolutely love chicken taco soup!!! Chicken broth, black beans, chicken, corn, taco seasoning, rotel, and any seasonings you want and slow cook it! 🙂 yummy!

    • June 5, 2011 6:13 pm

      Hi Barbara, thank you for your comment! Love your suggestion – and you can do so much with black beans and a can of rotel. I always have those two things handy in my pantry, every week!

  5. Alicia permalink
    June 3, 2011 1:55 pm

    Did you add some olive oil to the water when you were cooking your pasta? That seems to help the stickiness…just something I learned from my mommy 🙂

    I love (especially in colder temps) to make this…dish…I don’t have a name for it BUT (!) you:
    -saute a small onion in olive oil and a little salt
    -add garlic
    -add a can of organic black beans and a little extra water
    -throw in a bay leaf or two, cayenne pepper, black pepper, etc
    -cook down for a bit, until beans are squishier
    -add a package of frozen (or fresh, i suppose) okra

    Serve over rice. It’s a sort of black bean, gumbo-ish type dish…my dad affectionately calls it “gorp” because, well, it just looks like a bowl of beany-okra-y-squishy yumminess. 🙂

    • June 5, 2011 6:14 pm

      Hey Alicia! I will try your recipe, for sure – haha, but not with okra – still makes me shudder! 🙂

  6. June 3, 2011 2:03 pm

    Hi Michelle;
    This is Annette Beavers/
    Your recipe sounds yummy!
    My favorite “go to” recipe is chicken enchilada casserole. It’s gluten free and delish! I use green sauce, onions, garlic, corn tortillas, shredded chicken, and Monterey jack cheese. The preparation is the tideous part but every “labor
    of love” is extra tasty!

  7. Tai Ann McClendon permalink
    June 3, 2011 2:39 pm

    1. This looks super yummy!! I love tomatoes and basil!!
    2. Tai Ann McClendon (
    3. My favorite go-to healthy recipe is a take on carnita’s. I call them chicken carnita’s (i am not a huge fan of pork) Stick them in a oven safe pot. Sprinkle it with a packet of taco seasoning and a can of rotel and then cook it. 350 for at least 2-3 hours. To make this easier, I sometimes put it on during lunch at 250 and take it out about 5. Works great. I shred them and then use the meat as a base. After shredding I saute some red/orange/yellow peppers and onions with garlic. I add black beans, the peppers/onions, tomatoes, and a slight bit of cheese on top. Sometimes I use a little Julio’s salsa, but it doesn’t really need it. Serves alot of people and is really yummy! (I discovered this when I was looking for a healthier way to do mexican stack. This takes out most of the carbs!)

  8. June 3, 2011 3:38 pm

    oooooh, your new look looks so great!!!! I so want to do this with mine. I must find the right help!!! Thank you so much for your good luck comments. 🙂 So great to hear from you.

    • June 5, 2011 6:17 pm

      thanks so much, amanda! if you get a chance, take a look at my friend Andrea’s website – she’s a great graphic designer. can’t wait to read your race recap!

  9. June 4, 2011 1:46 am

    The last two posts have literally made me drool. Can you come over and make everything for me?

    In the winter, I live for roasted chicken with veggies. Some chicken chunks, potatoes (sweet and white), and winter veggies in a pan with olive oil and rosemary, roasted for 45 minutes = perfection.

    In the summer, I love a good stir fry. My go-to stir fry sauce is:
    4 cloves garlic
    4 gr onions
    chile to taste
    1c cilantro
    4T light flavored oil
    1tsp sesame oil
    2T soy (plus more to taste)
    1.5T maple syrup

    It’s good on chicken, veggies or fish. I’ve never tried it on red meat. Light and fresh and sweet and tangy – yum!

    • June 5, 2011 6:18 pm

      Hi Leslie! Haha, sure, I’ll come over 😉 you know what would be cool, though, a blogger meet-up! If you ever do one, let me know.
      PS – thanks for this stir-fry recipe. It seems really easy to make. I’ll have to try it!

      • June 13, 2011 5:11 am

        Definitely need a meet up. Dorry had suggested the Dallas farmers market sometime. But I’m not so cool, and don’t know who else is DFW besides us 3?

  10. Lauren S permalink
    June 4, 2011 2:14 am

    1) Yummy, So deliciously simple I cant believe I’ve never done it!
    2) Lauren Stanton
    3) Probably my favorite recipe is to oven roast a combination of veggies (I generally use some combination of squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and eggplant… sometimes I through in peppers if I am feeling particularly nice since my husband loves them and I cant get past their texture). While thats roasting I through a carton or two of cherry tomatoes into a skillet and let them cook till they burst. Then I combine the oven roast veggies and tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and (depending on how many tomatoes you added) add up to 8 shredded fresh basil leaves. Sometimes I’ve just thrown in a lot of Italian seasoning instead… I very much cook by taste and my mood effects that sometimes so sorry know true recipe. After all of that is combine I serve it over cheesy (I recommend any combination of Italian cheeses such as Parmesan or Romano… Asiago works ok but I wouldn’t use too much of it) polenta and it is yummy and start to finish done in about 30 minutes

    • June 5, 2011 6:20 pm

      Hi Lauren! Are you a vegetarian? Roasting veggies is great, huh? I’m not sure about eggplant, though 🙂 I have to admit I’m afraid to try it!

      • Lauren S permalink
        June 5, 2011 7:48 pm

        Nope, not a vegetarian. I like bacon to much to ever be a vegetarian 🙂 I just think that as a society we eat way to much meat… I try to keep my meat intake under 6 ounces a day and get the rest of my protein from other places. Plus fruits and veggies are generally cheaper per pound than meat so it helps stretch the food budget while being healthy for you!

        Another good recipe that I thought of later was put either a piece of chicken or fish into a foil pocket, add your choice of fruit, veggies, and/or seasoning (just about ANYTHING will work with this and the possibilities are just about endless), close the foil pocket and bake in the oven for about an hour. I LOVE doing this when we have people over for dinner because everyone can make what they want, clean up is a snap, and while its baking everyone can talk and eat appetizers.

  11. June 5, 2011 6:05 am

    I could live on pasta *sigh* …..
    Your dish sounds wonderfully tasty.


    My most favorite summer dinner is my version of pasta primavera from a recipe handed down to me many years ago: Three kinds of pasta (rotini, farfalle, penne), a variety of fresh veggies (summer squash, broccoli, asparagus – blanched) and fresh avocadoes, tomatoes, and celery. I mix up a big batch of sauce (mayo, lots of minced garlic, lemon juice, a bit of vinegar, and salt and pepper) and mix it all together. Perfect!

    • June 5, 2011 6:20 pm

      Hi Sharon, thanks for your comment! Wow, that pasta primavera recipe sounds so refreshing!

  12. Renea Parker permalink
    June 5, 2011 2:09 pm

    1) YUMMY! I think I will try this recipe out for my family later this week!
    2) Renea Parker …
    3) I will admit, I don’t normally seek out healthy recipe’s! I do love to have a chef salad from time to time. I also make the Chicken Taco Soup that Barbara posted about! It is really good, too!

  13. Kathryn permalink
    June 5, 2011 3:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! First I must say that sometimes angel hair sticks even if u are good at cooking it. Second, I’m gonna try this recipe- with lots of garlic! Third, I have a microplane so I don’t need to be in the drawing, but I wanted to add that it makes shaving chocolate so simple also!!!! 🙂
    My favorite fast healthy dish is tilapia! Yum! It’s easy: take 2 pieces of fresh or frozen tilapia (I buy mine in frozen bags) put in a baking dish and place a dab of butter on each one. Then put garlic (as much as you want or dare), salt, pepper on each piece. Put lemon juice in the bottom of the pan (I just cover the bottom- maybe 1/4 cup). Bake for 15 minutes at 375. I usually serve it with veggies and rice. Yum!

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