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Kicking off tomato season a bit early with this 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta. Buttery, basily pasta with garlic and black pepper, served topped with fresh cherry tomatoes. It’s a garden fresh take on pasta, that’s ready in about 20 minutes, and uses mostly pantry staple ingredients. Ideal for any day of the week from now until fall!

overhead photo of 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta

You know those dishes you crave on the busiest/craziest/most stressful days? This is that dish, and it is perfection. Or as close to it as it can get. It’s also so delicious and so easy that it’s almost embarrassing. I wondered if I should really be sharing what’s essentiality “buttered” pasta. But the bottom line? This pasta is too good not to share with you all today.

This pasta is one of my go-to dinners when I have zero time and zero energy left to cook. It’s also 100% inspired by my mom, which makes me love it even more.

First, let me back up. I shared a version of this recipe on my Instagram stories a few weeks back and you guys seemed to go absolutely crazy for it. SO much so that I’m still getting questions about when I will be sharing the recipe here on HBH. This is not the exact recipe I shared on my stories, but it’s similar, and it’s just as good. So hoping you guys are as excited as I am about this pasta.

20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta in skillet

Growing up my mom’s specialty (other than her chocolate chip cookies of course) was her buttered pasta. What’s buttered pasta you ask?

Exactly as it sounds, butter + pasta, and most definitely a pinch of salt too. My mom’s go-to, and to this day one of her favorites. Though she now much prefers my version that you see here today, with plenty of fresh basil and cherry tomatoes.

This dish starts out very similar to a classic cacio e pepe, but in addition to black pepper, I also like to add a good amount of garlic. I know some of you are not garlic fans. If that’s you, just omit it. BUT for those of us who love garlic, this is the pasta for you. Aside from all the basil, the garlic is key here. It caramelizes in the butter and creates the most subtle garlic flavor that’s also the slightest bit sweet.

Absolutely mouthwatering when tossed with pasta, garden fresh basil, and plenty of black pepper. SIMPLE, but DELISH.

Now, you could stop right there and serve this pasta up as is. It’s great, and often times this is just how I like to do it…

side angled photo of 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta

But, cherry tomato season is upon us. I couldn’t help but top this buttery pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and a touch of lemon. Again, not completely needed, but a very tasty addition if you have a garden full of tomatoes. Or just hit up your local market or farm market.

I know it’s a tinsy bit early for the garden tomatoes. But my market has been stocked with sweet as can be California cherry tomatoes for the last few weeks. So I pretty much always have some in my pantry these days. Too good to pass up, you know?

And that’s it. Takes maybe 15-20 minutes to make, fresh, buttery, hinted with garlic, so much basil flavor, and finished with sweet cherry tomatoes that burst in your mouth. 8 simple ingredients that when combined taste really, really, dang good.

And that’s about all you need to know. Dinner tonight = done!

overhead close up photo of 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta

If you make this 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

20 Minute Garlic Basil Butter Pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 467 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
    2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper and cook 1-2 minutes, until the butter is browning and the garlic is golden and fragrant. Reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 cup pasta water, the pasta, remaining butter, and pecorino. Tossing until melted. Remove from the heat, add 3/4 cup basil and toss, adding in more pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.
    3. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, remaining 1/4 cup basil, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.
    5. To serve, divide the pasta among bowls and serve topped with tomatoes. Eat and ENJOY.

horizontal photo of 20 Minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta

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  1. This was delish!! Cooked some bacon down first, then added the butter, pepper and garlic into the bacon grease. SO much flavor! Will definitely be adding this into my ‘craving a big bowl of pasta’ rotation.

  2. 5 stars
    Used this as a base last night and made a lot of tweaks (sugar snap peas instead of tomatoes, gruyere as didn’t have pecorino, casareccia instead of spaghetti) and it was fantastic. Love the simplicity of the concept and while brown butter pasta on its own would have been even more simple, I enjoyed the veg addition giving the dish a bit of interest. Thanks Tieghan

    p.s. definitely no need to add extra salt from our experience – there was just the right amount from the pasta water, the salted butter and cheese.

  3. Making it now. So happy to have the basil and cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden. Will continue this when I have tried it….
    Absolutely perfect! Yum!!! I love it. Wouldn’t change a thing!

    1. 5 stars
      Yes, I cooked it before I finished the last post. As I wrote before, it was perfect just the way it was written. Fabulously simple and full of our garden 🪴 basil and cherry 🍅 tomatoes. I’ve made it several times since.

    1. Hey Ana,
      Awesome! It is so great to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a go! xTieghan

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your basil pasta recipe, it was brilliant and simple. At the time I had just come out of an illness, dehydrated, not eating, starving etc., and wanted something light and satisfying……. really glad I found your website….
    Thank you

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and OMG! I didn’t measure so tons of garlic and butter and basil. I messed up by throwing everything together, but yum. Oh, I’m vegan so I used vegan parmesan cheese. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious and quick ‘n easy. Used midsized hydroponic tomatoes as cherry tomatoes available in stores have skin that could recap my tires. Drizzled a bit of Balsamic over the sliced/quartered tomatoes, oil, red pepper flakes and chopped basil. Great adjunct to the marvelous pasta.

  7. 2 stars
    This was ok! Kinda bland and I added chicken which made it so much better. I suggest adding spices and salt to make it taste better.

    1. Hi Lily! I am sorry this did not turn out as expected! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help! xTieghan

  8. Made this for dinner last night with basil from my garden and bbq scallops on the side. Fantastic! Thank you so much!

  9. 5 stars
    This was so simple and so delicious! Make this just now to begin my Friday evening party (overdose of Netflix and snack – LOL) – and it did not feel like cooking after a long day/week at all! Lemon zest just made everything so much lively!
    Thank you for all your hard work is bringing these recipes to us!

  10. 5 stars
    Omg this was delicious!!!! I used a spaghetti like rice noodles and it was heaven. I cant have gluten. Served it with a side of steak, yummy!!!! Can’t wait to make this again. I used havarti since I didn’t have any parm. Cheese. And I used some roasted garlic that I had on hand… a whole head of it (it wasn’t huge).

  11. 5 stars
    Made this today for myself & my husband. He said it was the best dish I ever made! Turned out to be delicious!!

  12. 5 stars
    I just LOVE simple dishes like this that are easy and so incredibly tasty! Because it was dinner, I added chopped rotisserie chicken (from COSTCO!) and WOW, what a big hit. I’ll be making this again this week and probably every week after. Browning the butter and the garlic, YUM. Thanks for a great recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! So tasty – the perfect lunch to use up some basil from our garden! I used linguine because that’s what I had. Next time I might add some prosciutto when serving! Now stop reading reviews, and make this pasta already!

  14. 5 stars
    I started making your recipe a couple of months ago and totally forgot to say thank you! This recipe is absolutely fantastic and soooo easy! I make it all the time, and it’s become one of my favorites as a busy grad student. Love your recipes, thanks for sharing them with us!! Could you share more recipes like this one that require very few ingredients but taste amazing?

  15. I made this dish twice for my family so far and we all LOVE it!! Thinking of making this tonight for dinner. Thanks for sharing this delicious dish as well as others. Looking forward to the newest book as well.

  16. 5 stars
    I’m all about your recipes lately so thank you for another good one! I used angel hair because it’s all I had in the house and right before serving I sprinkled some lemon zest on top. This was delicious, quick and easy. I’ll definitely be making it again!

  17. 5 stars
    I love love LOVE the way you styled this. Trying it for sure and just saved it on Pinterest! Thank you 🙂

  18. 5 stars
    This was super yummy. Used parmesan instead of pecorino since that’s I had on hand and cooked up some shrimp with it. Delish! thanks for the easy recipe

  19. 5 stars
    Apologies for the typo in my comment (above)

    I was just trying to say that this recipe reminded me that sometimes “simple” truly is best! It makes the ingredients and flavours shine! This was seriously amazing!!!!!!

  20. 5 stars
    Delicious and elegantly simple on its own. We added wild caught monk fish; garden salad; sardines; and/or fried egg on different nights to mix things up and add protein (depending on the night). Thanks, Tieghan!!

  21. This looks good. But It’s called “20 minute” pasta, but the cook time says “1 hour 15 minutes” and then total time says “15 minutes” , that doesn’t quite add up lol

  22. 5 stars
    The simplicity of this, is what makes it truly amazing. I made this and it was pure heaven!! We enjoyed it with wine and it was to die for. I am a toppings/ingredients/flavour freak, so this recipe was a good reminder for me that sometimes not simple is best. Thanks for sharing!!!

  23. Can’t pass up a quick meal for weeknights! This sounds amazing, will be trying out for my fam! Pinned!

  24. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was easy, quick and delicious. I used cherub tomatoes from the grocery store and roasted them dressed with olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (as described in your Caprese Pesto Pasta Bake recipe). I always look forward to my daily email from you. Thank you Tieghan!

    1. I hope you love this one, David! You are too sweet, I am so glad you are loving my recipes! Thank you so much! xTieghan

  25. Looks wonderful! Do you think any other veggies would work in this recipe? My husband and I aren’t huge fans of tomatoes, but I would love to add another veggie to this for the pop of color and freshness.

    1. Hey Cori! Honestly any veggie you guys love will be great! I’d probably sauté some broccoli or zucchini along with the garlic OR toss in fresh spinach or kale towards the end of cooking. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  26. Aaah…this reminds me of a time when my kids were young & would only eat pasta with butter & (Parmesan) cheese. When I was a kid, my mom threw in cottage cheese & it was our Lenten Friday meal many times. But brown butter & cheese? Would not have thought of that but it’s brilliant! It takes a very simple dish to the next, more flavorful, level. Thanks again Tieghan, for a great recipe & some very happy food memories (which is half the fun of cooking for me…the memories)

    1. Yes so glad you came across this one! I hope you (and hopefully your kids still) love this recipe Marcia!! Thank you so much! xTieghan