This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta is packed with flavour, it's such an easy recipe and ready in under 30 minutes. Penne pasta in the creamiest garlic and cheese sauce with tender sun-dried tomatoes, fresh baby spinach and toasty pine nuts. This is a great vegetarian dinner for busy weeknights.
I don't know about you but creamy pasta dishes are definitely in my top ten best comfort foods. I love nothing more than a big bowl of creamy mushroom stroganoff or creamy garlic mushroom pasta to satisfy my carb cravings.
This sun-dried tomato pasta is my kind of pasta. It's deliciously creamy and so easy to make, everyone loves it! I love how simple this recipe is but you could easily add more veggies in if you want to.
The pasta is cooked until al dente and then covered in that creamy sun-dried tomato sauce making this a delicious creamy pasta recipe that the whole family will love. This really is the perfect recipe for busy weeknights!
What You'll Need
You only need a few store cupboard ingredients to make this sun-dried tomato pasta recipe, you probably have most of these ingredients already.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - I use the kind of sun-dried tomatoes you can find in oil, you can get them from the deli counter or buy them in jars.
- Pasta - I used penne pasta for this recipe but almost any type of pasta will work very well.
- Spinach - Fresh spinach is best for this dish and I use baby spinach as it has a milder flavour.
- Cream - I use double cream (heavy cream) for this recipe and full-fat is best.
- Herbs - You'll need a mixture of fresh herbs and dried for this recipe. I use fresh basil and dried oregano.
- Cheese - any hard Italian cheese such as pecorino is perfect for this recipe. If you are in the US you could use parmesan cheese if you like.
- Other ingredients - you'll also need one onion, fresh garlic a pinch of nutmeg and pinenuts. The pine nuts are optional but recommended.
How To Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
This is just a quick visual guide, please see the recipe card below for full instructions and an ingredient list.
- Add the oil to a large pan. Cook the onion until soft. Add the minced garlic and oregano, cook for a minute then stir in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and toast the pine nuts.
- Pour in the cream, stirring all the time. Once all the cream has been incorporated add the grated cheese to the pan and stir well. Add a little grated nutmeg and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Add the spinach to the sauce, and stir until the spinach is wilted.
- Reserve some of the pasta water then drain the pasta, add the reserved pasta water to the sauce then tip the pasta into the sauce. Stir in the chopped basil then serve immediately with toasted pine nuts and more grated cheese.
- To remove the excess oil from the sun-dried tomatoes place each tomato flat on a chopping board. Use the back of a kitchen knife and scrape the tomato from the top to the bottom to remove the oil.
- Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the water from the cooking pasta to your sauce, this will add more flavour to your sauce and help it thicken, helping the sauce stick to your pasta.
- Add in some veggies - while I love how simple this dish is you can absolutely add in some extra veggies. Try adding mushrooms, courgettes (zucchini), broccoli or peas.
- Pasta - You can use lots of different types of pasta for this dish, penne, and fusilli work great as does linguine, spaghetti or tagliatelle.
- Cream - I used double cream (heavy cream) for this dish, and this gave the best results. You could swap the cream for light cream cheese or mascarpone if you want to switch it up a bit.
- Pine nuts - a few readers have mentioned to me that pine nuts are very expensive in the USA. If you need to swap them for something else you could try finely chopped almonds, walnuts or cashews. You could also change the pine nuts for toasted breadcrumbs instead. The pine nuts are not an essential ingredient to this dish so if you want to omit them altogether you can.
- Spice it up - If you want to add some heat to this dish, then you could add a small pinch of red pepper flakes of dried red chili flakes.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt + more to season
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves of garlic minced or put through a garlic press
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes from a jar in oil. Sliced into thin strips.
- 250 g (2 and ¼ cups) penne pasta (dry weight)
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 300 ml (1 and ¼ cups) double/heavy cream
- 45 g (½ cup grated) hard Italian cheese finely grated + more for serving
- A small pinch of grated nutmeg
- 90 g (3 cups) baby spinach
- 4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil torn
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to serve
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.Add the chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Cook over medium heat stirring often until the onion is soft, this can take at least 15 minutes.
- While the onion is cooking, cook your pasta according to the package directions.Now is also the time to toast the pine nuts if you are using them. Do this by frying them in a dry pan until they are golden then setting them aside until you are ready to use them.
- Once the onion is soft add ½ teaspoon of dried oregano, to the onion along with the 3 cloves of garlic and cook for a minute.Now add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir them into the onions.
- Next slowly pour in about 300ml (1 and ¼ cup) of double (heavy) cream.Add 45g (½ a cup) of grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Once the cheese has melted stir in a pinch of grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.Take 3 or 4 tablespoons of water from the cooking pasta and stir it into the sauce.
- Now add the spinach to the sauce. Stir it into the sauce until it is wilted.Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce. And stir in the chopped basil.Serve immediately topped with the toasted pine nuts and some more grated cheese.
- Veggie Swaps– Try adding mushrooms, courgettes (zucchini), broccoli or peas.
- Pasta – I used penne pasta for this. Fusilli or Rotini work great as does linguine, spaghetti or tagliatelle.
- Cream – I used double cream (heavy cream) for this dish, this gave the best results. You could swap the cream for light cream cheese or mascarpone if you want to switch it up a bit.
- Cheese - I used Pecorino cheese for this recipe, any vegetarian parmesan-style cheese will work well.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – if you can, choose good quality sundried tomatoes the kind you find on the deli counter or in jars filled with oil.
- Pine nuts – These are optional you can swap them for walnuts or almonds if you want. Or you could also change the pine nuts for toasted breadcrumbs instead. The pine nuts are not an essential ingredient to this dish so if you want to omit them altogether you can.
- Storage - Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Leftovers can be reheated on the hob. I don't recommend freezing this dish due to the cream. The cream can split when it's frozen and leave the dish with an unpleasant grainy texture.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving and does not include an extra cheese serving.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.
Hi I made this a few weeks back and substituted cream cheese for the cream as that’s what I had in. I also added a few mushrooms. I knew I’d really like this dish but wasn’t sure about my hubby. He absolutely loved it and has requested it for dinner so I am making it again tonight. So easy to make and so delicious.
Hi Minty, I'm so happy to hear that you both loved it! I like your swap, adding cream cheese! I'll have to try this next time x
Can you skip the cream?
Hi Chenit, I made this last night without the cream and cheese and it was still really tasty. I skipped the pasta water too. Obviously, it won't be creamy though 😉 Hope this helps, Michelle x
Great recipe for the MOST fresh, flavorful pasta. Thank you for all the tips and variations, too!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
Wow! This gorgeous pasta recipe has me salivating. All of my favorite things together. Love those pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes -- and I appreciate the tip on removing the excess oil from them. Thank you.
An awesome meal to have on the table in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for those busy nights running kids around.
Wow, this is so good. I added the pasta water, like you suggested, and it was so much more creamy.
I absolutely love sun dried tomatoes, especially in pasta! Combined with spinach and pine nuts, they are sooo good. This tasted fantastic.
Thanks so much Kristina, I'm so glad you liked it 🙂