Creamy tomato and garlic pasta recipe

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This creamy pasta is topped with caramelized onions, fresh garlic, blistered tomatoes, and spinach. It is gluten free when made with gluten free pasta. It is also vegetarian and nut free.

Creamy tomato garlic pasta

Let’s talk gluten free pasta brands

Disclaimer: Everyone has a different tolerance for gluten and reacts differently to products. Make sure to do your own research before trying a new gluten free product.

There are a lot of gluten free pasta brands out there but not all are created equal. Today I am using Barilla brand gluten free pasta. It is certified gluten free and comes in many different shapes including spaghetti, fettuccini, penne, elbow noodles, and even lasagna. This is one of my go-to brands for dried pasta, especially when I am looking for something that is readily available at the grocery store. Many of my gluten-eating friends say they can hardly tell the difference between gluten free Barilla pasta and traditional Barilla pasta.

Another brand I often go for is Banza, which is more of a protein pasta. Banza pasta is chickpea based and I keep it around for days when I am looking for a little extra protein. It comes in a bright orange box so it is super easy to spot at the grocery store. Banza pasta does have a little bit of a chickpea aftertaste to it, but is mild and fades away if you are using a flavorful sauce. I am working on a more comprehensive article about my favorite gluten free pasta brands, so stay tuned for more!

Creamy tomato and garlic pasta

What other vegetables can I put in this dish?

Do you have any leftover vegetables laying around in your refrigerator? This is a great dish to toss them in before they go bad. My top recommendations would be broccoli, asparagus, and peas, but there are so many options out there. When I add asparagus or broccoli to this dish, I usually chop them into small pieces and add them at the same time I add the tomatoes. When I add pre-cooked peas (canned or frozen) I usually add them with the garlic and spinach.

Creamy tomato and garlic pasta

Creamy tomato and garlic pasta

This creamy pasta is topped with caramelized onions, fresh garlic, blistered tomatoes, and spinach. This recipe is gluten free when made with gluten free pasta. It is nut free and vegetarian as well.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: comfort food, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 box gluten free pasta (today i am using Barilla gluten free ziti)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1 whole onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (vegetarian parmesan style cheese)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and garlic
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onions. Top with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions by themselves for 15-20 minutes, flipping every 4-5 minutes as they start to brown. While your onions cook, you can proceed to the next step.
  • While your onions are cooking, fill a pot half way with water and add salt. Wait for the water to boil then add your gluten free pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on your pasta box. Dried gluten free pasta generally needs to be cooked for 7-10 minutes.
  • After the onions have cooked for 15-20 minutes, add the butter and whole cherry tomatoes into the pan and turn up the heat a little. Cook the tomatoes for about 10 minutes or until they start to blister and weep.
  • Add the garlic and spinach and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the pan with the vegetables. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese and cream to the pan. Mix until the cheese melts.

Substitutions

  • I listed ziti in the ingredients because that is what I used today, but you can substitute other types of gluten free pasta into this recipe and it will be just as delicious. I have made this dish with spaghetti as well as elbow noodles and they both turned out great. 
  • I listed cherry tomatoes in the ingredients, but if you are having trouble finding cherry tomatoes other tomato varieties will work. Try to find tomatoes that are ripe and bright red.
  • If you are looking to reduce the calories in this recipe, you can substitute the heavy cream with milk or half and half and exclude the butter. It will be a little less rich, but still delicious. 

Enhancements

  • If you are big on fresh herbs, try adding some fresh basil to this dish. I would recommend adding the basil as you add the cream and parmesan cheese so it gets mixed in with all the creamy goodness.
  • If you really want to amplify that juicy tomato flavor, try adding some sun dried tomatoes to top this dish off.

Reheating instructions

Whether you reheat your leftovers with the stove, microwave, or oven, I would recommend adding a little milk or cream to your dish before you heat it up. Leftovers tend to dry out in the refrigerator, so I always recommend adding a little extra sauce to a pasta dish before reheating. 

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Tips for cooking pasta


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