Pasta with Tomato, Spinach, Basil, and Brie

During the summer months when tomatoes are in season, we look for practically any excuse to use our garden tomatoes. The basil plant that we frantically try to keep from completely going to seed, also beckons. “The time is NOW,” the garden seems to say, “take advantage of us while you can!”

Here’s a quick and easy pasta side to help lighten the garden guilt, if only by a couple tomatoes and a handful of basil. It’s another favorite of my friend Heidi H (thanks Heidi!). This pasta dish uses bits of melty brie to bring it all together – the tomatoes, pasta, basil, garlic, and baby spinach, and is tossed with Parmesan before serving. Yum!

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Pasta with Tomato, Spinach, Basil, and Brie Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound chopped fresh, ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 6 ounces brie cheese, rind removed, cheese cut into small chunks
  • Zest and juice of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon zest and 3 Tbsp juice)
  • A handful of basil leaves, chiffonade or sliced thin
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound of linguini or fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper taste

Method

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1 Heat a large pot of salted water for making the pasta. While the water is heating, prep the ingredients.  Once water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente (cooked through, but still a little firm to the bite).

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2 While the pasta is cooking, place the garlic, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, chunks of brie (make sure to cut away the white rind!), lemon zest, and lemon juice into a large, microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until the brie is melty and soft. (If you don't have a microwave, place the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for an hour or two, so the brie softens.)

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3 Once the pasta is done, drain it and place it in the bowl with the cheese and tomatoes. Add the basil and baby spinach. Toss together so that the spinach, basil, cheese, and tomatoes are well dispersed through the pasta.  Break up or smash any large pieces of cheese.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and toss more to incorporate. Add more salt to taste.

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33 Comments

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Loving the look of this dinner! What a great idea!

  2. Sandy S

    This dish is calling my name! Will try it with some GF noodles. Thank you Elise for all the wonderful, yet easy summertime recipes! You have helped keep the ‘fast food devil’ at bay!

  3. Sues

    I recently discovered that brie in pasta is the best thing ever! Everything about this looks summer perfect :)

  4. Chris

    That looks awesome. I could eat that right now.

    My wife doesn’t like any of the rinded soft cheeses (brie, camembert etc)… can anyone suggest an alternative that will work in a recipe like this.

    • Jim Fowler

      Chris, goat cheese, feta or mozzarella would work too. Thanks for the great summer recipe, Elise!

    • Patts

      I’ve used Gorgonzola in a similar recipe and loved it. I think a milder goat cheese would be delicious also if the Gorgonzola is too strong a flavor.

    • Simone

      I have done a similiar recipe and used mozzarella, which worked well. I have also added lightly stir fried courgette (zucchini) and king prawns which was very yummy.

    • Elise

      A little cream or creme fraiche will work.

    • Chris

      Thanks guys…. I’ll experiment at the weekend. So far I think feta may be winning :)

    • bob

      feta

  5. Tempy

    My friends and I fixed a meal similar to this yesterday. We got it out of a cookbook from 1984 Named The Pasta Salad Book. It consisted of fettuccine, lemon juice, tomatoes, basil and pepper. We topped it with sauteed shrimp and portabello mushrooms. It made for a great summer lunch! And, if you fancy a little bit of Parmesan cheese does it justice.

  6. Diane Vander Wende

    I have made a pasta like this for years, but I don’t cook the sauce. Use a good triple cream brie and mix the ingredients in a bowl one hour ahead; it will melt. Let it rest for the hour at room temperature and then add the cooked pasta. The hot pasta is all the heat that is needed, and the fresh taste is incomparable. Yum!

  7. Marta@What should I eat for breakfast today

    I like each pasta that contains spinach. I usually make it with blue cheese, but this one sounds delicious as well.

  8. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    What a great summer dish!

  9. Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago

    I have never used Brie in a pasta dish before – sounds really tasty. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  10. Lisa

    Will definitely try this with some fresh mozzarella. YUM!

  11. Joshua Hampton

    What a marvelous pasta dish. I love that it’s so colorful and so easy to make. Perfect for weeknight dinners, I’d say.

  12. Annie

    Made this last night for dinner, without the spinach. Divinely delicious. Will try next time with some spinach.

  13. Patsey Manning

    This looks absolutely wonderful, will be making it ASAP! Also emailed it to my sister, had to share this recipe.

  14. Liz

    Nice pasta dish. Thank you.

  15. Jayne

    Brie is my favourite cheese ever and I have no idea why I’ve never thought of using it in pasta. Only sandwiches ever! Silly. It’s rather expensive here so I assume using a portion of Greek yogurt and a portion of brie would work well?

    • Elise

      Hi Jane, I’m thinking that Greek yogurt may be a bit too tangy. You could add a little cream though.

  16. Jenna

    Oh, we’ll make this sometime soon. Thank you!

  17. Diane

    This was absolutely delicious and quick! I planned to make it based on the ingredients alone and hadn’t read the directions closely. When I came to the part about placing ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and zapping them, I was skeptical. But it turned out great! I did toss with red pepper flakes along with the other seasoning. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Mary

    Normally I avoid pasta as too carb-loaded, but I am so happy I made an exception for this recipe! I made it as directed with a half pound of pasta and it was fabulous. Can’t wait to make it again and share with company!

  19. Brenda

    I love all of your recipes and I can’t wait to try this one. My husband recently started cooking and I find your instructions easy for him to use. I just printed off your baked chicken for him to make one night this week. I know I can always count on good California cooking on this blog.

  20. The Mistress of Spices

    Mmmmm brie in pasta! Too bad my hubby is a cheese hater, but think I’ll make this for myself.

  21. Margaret Kelzch

    End of my tomatoes! Just rediscovered this recipe from earlier this summer. We love it. So am going to use up the last of the tomatoes and Basil for this season. Looking forward to next season.

  22. Shannon

    Made this tonight, and it was tasty. However, figuring that the 2 – 3 microwave time for the tomato/cheese mixture would be too long (particularly with the lemon juice) that I reduced it to 1 minute. The cheese curdled. I think I’ll try 20-30 seconds next time, or just let the heat of the pasta melt the cheese.

  23. Mary

    Sounds like a great recipe! Making this for dinner soon but was thinking of adding chicken and zucchini. Can’t wait!

  24. Luann

    I am thinking of making this with roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic. Thoughts anyone?

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