Pasta With Tomatoes, Basil and Brie

Summer Pasta With Tomatoes and Brie

It’s no surprise we’re big fans of easy dinners — the ones that require no extra grocery shopping and very little prep. So today, as we continue our month of cheese, we’re happy to share this five-ingredient pasta from Food52’s cookbook A New Way to Dinner. Here’s how to whip it up…

Pasta With Garlic, Tomatoes, Basil and Brie
By Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, from A New Way to Dinner

My mother was a devotee of The Silver Palate Cookbook when I was growing up, and I still return to many of the dishes she made from it, like this pasta. You combine chopped tomatoes (only when they’re in season, please!), olive oil, garlic and basil in a bowl and leave it alone for several hours. When it’s time to eat, you boil pasta, cube a hunk of brie and toss both with the magical sauce that has materialized while you were off being productive. The brie is a brilliant curve ball; it melts into the puddle of tomatoes and olive oil, rendering it creamy and complex. I also recommend keeping the rind on the cheese when you make this pasta for a gentle hit of brie’s hallmark bitterness.

Recipe: Pasta With Garlic, Tomatoes, Basil and Brie
Serves 4, plus leftovers

You’ll need:

4 perfectly ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz brie
1 pound curly pasta, like cavatappi

In the morning, combine the tomatoes, basil and garlic in a large serving bowl. Pour in the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Gently stir everything together and cover the bowl. Let sit at room temperature for at least two hours and up to 12 hours.

About 45 minutes before you plan to eat, put the brie in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up, which will make it easier to cut. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente. Strain the pasta and tip it into the bowl. Fold everything together until the brie starts to melt and the pasta is slicked with cheesy tomato goodness. You will probably see a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl—those are tomato juices, so that’s a good thing. Serve the pasta immediately. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Thank you, Food52! Your cookbook is a lifesaver.

P.S. More recipes, including delicious Boursin pasta and bite-sized baked brie.

(Recipe excerpted from A New Way to Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photo by James Ransom © 2017. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Rebecca Horrigan says...

    Has anyone tried this with Gluten-Free pasta? I wanted to make this for my gluten-free housemate and was planning on using GF TJ’s brown rice quinoa fussilli but don’t know if the flavors will meld well. Thoughts appreciated :)

    • Brittany K says...

      This is so late, but yes! I’m GF and I’ve been using a quinoa-corn blend, and it works perfectly. Just be sure to take the pasta out while it’s al dente, otherwise it gets especially mushy and starchy. Enjoy!

  2. Janet says...

    This was so yummy! Very simple to make, and a little different! When mixing, it gives off a vinegary, or acidy smell which I thought was interesting. My family loved it, thanks!

  3. I loved the recipe, it’s a bit different. I really want to make it look delicious.

  4. That looks sooo good. I really wanna eat it now :D I will definitely put it on my ‘to make list’ :) Thanks for the recipe!
    Best, Jana

  5. Nicola says...

    Been making this for years! Forgot about it this year, off to the farmers market!

  6. DE says...

    Random question. I am undergoing chemo (similar rules to being pregnant) and am not supposed to eat brie unless it is cooked. Does anyone know if this cuts it. I guess I could just cook it for a bit after adding the brie. I know the simple answer is why take the risk, but this looks delicious!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi DE, is that guideline because of pasteurization? If so, what if you just used a pasteurized Brie? Funnily enough most soft cheeses sold in the U.S. (even the French ones!) are pasteurized now. Good luck with everything!

    • DE says...

      Yes exactly, unpasteurized is the issue. For some reason I just assumed all brie was unpasteurized. Thanks for the heads up and the well wishes.

  7. This was my absolute summer fave from The Silver Palate! I still have my worn out copy that was first given to me oh so many years ago. This is such an easy scrumptious dish. Thanks for posting!

  8. This looks soooo good. I love simple pasta dishes like this. And everything from Food52 is amazing!

  9. Maggie says...

    My parents made this all the time as a summer dinner, they called it adult mac and cheese. I hated it as a child, the brie was too strong of a taste. Still as an adult I have an aversion to this dish however I love brie!

  10. Jaimi B says...

    I am obsessed with this cookbook and made this exact pasta two weeks ago. My husband kept pausing after every bite with a contemplative look on his face. I said, “You know what this tastes like, right? The pasta version of a Neapolitan pizza margherita.” His face lit up, and he said, “YES! That’s what I’ve been trying to put my finger on!” It was so so good. The brie mellows out and melts so nicely into the warm pasta.

  11. Sarah says...

    Randomly enough my dad’s childhood friend (and college roommate for a semester) was the recipe tester on the Silver Palate Cookbook. He’s right there on the cover “with Michael McLaughlin.” We had that cookbook growing up, but I had no idea that it was a big deal book until years later.

  12. Amy Dean says...

    I just made a version of this last night! The one I make is from the Silver Palette Cookbook and is basically the same thing but with linguine and with slightly different portions on the ingredients. I have a feeling the Silver Palette version may have inspired the Food 52 version… just a hunch. Either way, it is amazing! And super easy. Definitely worth a try and great for company!

  13. I just started trying the switch over to a plant-based diet, but I’ll probably have to make an exception ’cause of this brie…!

  14. I’m not a fan of brie (which is insane because I live in France), but I think I will try with mozzarella! Interesting idea to arrange it 12 hrs before to settle and mix flavors, I have never done that before when preparing summer pastas!


  15. Cora says...

    The post had lovely memories flood back to me. Tomato, basil, brie is the last meal my mother in-law ever made for me. Our daughter was about a month old and my in-laws stopped by to visit on the way to run errands. As they were leaving, she handed me a plastic container full of this sauce, with fresh basil and tomatoes from their garden. It was always a late summer favorite recipe for my husband. My mother in-law got very sick shortly after this impromptu visit and died about a month later. I haven’t had pasta this way since, 9 years later. It’s amazing that recipes and food can have such visceral memories attached to them. Thank you for bringing a find one back to me with this post.

  16. Kiera says...

    Also works great with mozzarella. (My kids prefer it that way.) I love it any which way – as long as it has lots of fresh ground pepper! Great summer dinner treat.

  17. Meghan says...

    just harvested tomatoes and basil from the garden – looks like dinner to me :) :) :)

  18. I was just wondering what I was going to make tonight! Thanks! A quick dinner post is so helpful in the middle of the week for your readers. Thank you :)

  19. Melanie says...

    If I could still eat dairy, the Brie would never make it into the pasta…I would just let it get to room temperature and it that!

  20. Oh my goodness, this looks so good! Seriously, pasta involved with anything is clearly meant for me!

  21. CJ says...

    Yummy! My mom still uses the Silver Palate cookbook. I literally grew up on it. Thanks for the nostalgic memory.

  22. Emily L says...

    I made this from Food 52’s website last week. However, in one of the comments, someone said they like to make it with feta. I had feta on hand and used in instead and it was outstanding. Plus, it tastes good cold the next day. Add a few chopped olives and it’s out of this world!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg sounds so good!!

    • I have a recipe almost like this that calls for freshly grated Parmesan! But I want to try the brie because of the meltiness and flavor.

    • Katy says...

      Food52’s “Tomato Water” Pasta recipe blew my mind!! Is that the one you used?

    • Anna says...

      Yes! We call the tomato, basil and feta pasta “pasta Italia” in our house, for the colours. We make it with lots of fresh garlic, a bit of sugar, a splash of red wine vinegar, some chili and lots of parmigiano. My fave dinner! Also, we don’t do the mixing ahead of time step, just do it all at once. Need to try with Brie now!

    • Oh my gosh, I have feta in my fridge right now. Will try this! YUMMM

  23. Christine says...

    The trouble is, to me that looks like a single serving! I’d better run the other way!!

  24. Sasha says...

    Love this idea!

    We make a similar south west inspired no cook sauce: ripe tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, let sit a few hours. Toss with hot pasta, black beans and toasted pine nuts (or pecans or almonds or walnuts) and cilantro.

  25. Dinner for tonight! I was just lamenting that I hadn’t pulled anything from the freezer but I have all the ingredients for this. Thanks!

  26. kelly says...

    This is one of my favorite summer dishes, it is 100% DELICIOUS. I use spaghetti pasta and obvs, the fresher/tastier the tomatoes, the better.

  27. Laura C. says...

    This is a must. I’ll definitely try.

  28. This sounds so amazing. I’m going to miss tomatoes so much when summer ends.

    • CJ says...

      I feel ya! I am making batches of “sauce” with my garden tomatoes. It’s more like tomatoes that are chopped, add salt, pepper, EVOO and then squeeze a bit to release all the good stuff. Then freeze in small containers and add fresh herbs/spices later when you defrost. It still “tastes” like summer to me, even in Fall and Winter.

  29. This looks delicious! Great for the end of summer!

  30. Wonderful weekend dinner! We grow tomatoes and basil, too! Also, I used cavatappi pasta for the first time last month and it is now my new favorite noodle.

  31. This looks fantastic. Basil and brie are two of my favorite flavors. Why have I not tried them together?

  32. Tawnie Bryant says...

    I have made this dish, and it really was amazing. I’m not a huge tomato fan, so I used canned ones instead. It was really delicious!!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Great idea, Tawnie!

  33. Might have to make this for my Mum tomorrow!

  34. Nathalie says...

    Yay, I have tomatoes and basil in the garden (pretty much the only things I can grow) and I just bought some curly spelt pasta; all I need is some brie. Thanks so much for the easy dinner!

  35. SN says...

    Dinner tomorrow – check!