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.
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.
- 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.
- Broth: Use either chicken or vegetable broth, or bone broth for extra protein.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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 ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese.
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta: In lieu of the cherry tomatoes, add ½ cup of sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
I love serving this skillet pasta with a simple veggie side salad. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Raw and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad: A warm brussels salad with toasted hazelnuts, ricotta salata, and a simple lemon-shallot dressing.
- Shaved Brussels and Pear Salad: Crunchy sprouts and fresh pair with pumpkin seeds, dried apple, and Manchego cheese tossed in a punchy lemon-Dijon dressing.
- Arugula Goat Cheese Salad: Peppery arugula with with Brussels sprouts, farro, pecans, and a delicious honey mustard dressing.
- 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.
More Easy One Pan Dinner Recipes
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One Pan Creamy Tomato Pasta
- Large skillet with fitted lid
- 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
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 to 3 generous handfuls fresh baby spinach
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- 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.
- 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.