One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta

5 from 60 votes
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One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta with spinach and mozzarella will become your savior on busy weeknights. Ready in under 30 minutes and picky eater-approved, this simple skillet pasta is a crowd favorite.One pan creamy tomato pasta in a cast iron skillet topped with basil and parmesan

This recipe is special enough for a romantic dinner but is so easy, even the most novice cook can make it with success.

Not only does this creamy tomato pasta taste delicious, it’s ready in 30 minutes and makes fantastic leftovers.

This one pan pasta is on regular rotation in our house because:

  • It’s quick, simple, and comes together in a SINGLE pan (just like this epic Baked Tortellini).
  • It combines ingredients that require minimal prep work, which you can keep stocked in your fridge or pantry. 
  • The recipe is written vegetarian, however you can easily add ground turkey or chicken for extra protein.

It doesn’t get better than this (for another creamy pasta favorite, try my Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Corn).

How to Make One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it year-round. 

It calls for fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes, which are always in-season, in addition to a few pantry staples.

Feel free to switch it up with different veggies (such as mushrooms, zucchini, and fennel) or protein add-ins.

The IngredientsRecipe ingredients in separate bowls on a blue board with labels

  • Pasta: I like using either whole wheat or chickpea pasta. Whole wheat pasta lends a subtle nuttiness, along with extra fiber and whole grain goodness. Chickpea pasta is gluten free and boosts protein.
  • Aromatics: A mix of yellow onion and garlic create the aromatic foundation of this skillet pasta.
  • Spinach: Fresh spinach wilts down to create ribbons of vibrant, nutrient-dense goodness throughout the pasta. This is a great way to sneak in extra veggies, especially for kids!
  • Tomatoes: I love using cherry tomatoes, which are in season year-round. Alternatively, during peak summer months, feel free to use a chopped heirloom tomato or two.
  • Marinara Sauce: Any brand of store-bought marinara works, however I personally love DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream adds richness to the sauce, however you can also use half-and-half for less fat.
  • Cheese: A mix of mozzarella and Parmesan are the ultimate duo. The former lends melty goodness, while Parmesan adds salty, nutty undertones.

Creamy tomato pasta being stirred in a skillet

The Directions

Step 1: Sauté Onion and Tomatoes

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium. Add onion and tomatoes; cook 7 to 8 minutes, until the onion is soft and tomatoes are broken down and jammy.

Step 2: Simmer Pasta

Add pasta, marinara sauce, water, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.Penne pasta, marinara sauce, and water being cooked in a skillet

Step 3: Stir in Spinach and Cheese

Remove lid and stir in heavy cream, spinach, and cheese. Stir continuously until spinach wilts and cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan, if using. Spinach, mozzarella, and cream being mixed into pastaCooked pasta being topped with basil and fresh Parmesan

Recipe Variations

  • One Pan Chicken Pasta: Add 12 ounces of ground chicken to the onion mixture and sauté until browned.
  • One Pan Feta Pasta: Instead of the mozzarella, add 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese.
  • Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta: In lieu of the cherry tomatoes, add 1/2 cup of sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil.

Serving Suggestions

I love serving this skillet pasta with a simple veggie side salad. Here are a few of my favorites:

Storage Tips:

  • To Store. This creamy tomato pasta may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze. Freeze pasta in zip-top bags or freezable containers for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • To Reheat. Warm leftovers on the stovetop over medium heat, in a covered pot with a lid, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, you may also microwave individual portions until steaming.

Individual portion of creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl

More Easy One Pan Dinner Recipes

Sheet Pan Pesto Gnocchi

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Skillet Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo

One Pot Harissa Shrimp and Feta Orzo

If you give this one pan pasta a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates

5 from 60 votes

One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta

One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta with spinach and mozzarella will become your savior on busy weeknights. Ready in under 30 minutes and picky eater-approved, this skillet pasta is a crowd favorite.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Large skillet with fitted lid

Ingredients  

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz. dry penne pasta
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 to 3 generous handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
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Instructions 

  • Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium heat. Add onion and tomatoes; cook 7 to 8 minutes, until the onion is soft and tomatoes are broken down and jammy.
  • Add pasta, marinara sauce, water, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
    Remove lid and stir in heavy cream, spinach, and cheese. Stir continuously until spinach wilts and cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan, if using. 

Notes

  • Store. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze. Freeze pasta in zip-top bags or freezable containers for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheat. Warm leftovers on the stovetop over medium heat, in a covered pot with a lid, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, microwave individual portions until steaming.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 620mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

 

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47 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    5 stars
    I made this for my family! It was absolutely delicious! Instead of using heavy cream I used some cream cheese and whole milk. It worked great!

  2. Jenny says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is on repeat at our house. Picky toddler approved! I use a pound of pasta for plenty of leftovers, and double the sauce and water (I don’t quite double the spices but close to it). I love the recipe as written, which is quite peppery … but I end up using less for the kids. One of our favorites!

  3. Karen says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I didn’t have a jar of marinara sauce so I substitued with a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I also used fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder. Will defiitely make this one again.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. charly says:

    5 stars
    delicious meal for the whole family!!! i used feta in place of mozz, and it was so delicious. definitely recommend this with homemade vodka sauce as well. 5/5 stars!