Linguine in Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic-Basil Toast



By Cat,  July 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Pasta Menu; 2. Pasta (About); 3, Mediterranean Menu; 4. Focaccia

In the heat of summer, I don’t like to make dinners that require a lot of cooking, as it heats up my house. A quick pasta dish like this is just perfect.

I use this as a base recipe, and add whatever veggies I have on hand, to the sauté: broccoli, broccolini, rabe, kale, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, chard or asparagus. Another good addition is capers, with or instead of olives. Wine is another good addition.

You can also add chicken or shellfish to add protein for a main dish. Chicken cutlets, browned in oil, then added to the sauce after the tomatoes, to finish cooking add protein for a main dish. Or small clams or mussels (in the shell) are a great protein addition.

Linguini are a flat, thin pasta, barely wider than spaghetti; they also are available flavored with garlic or spinach, which would be good in this dish.  If linguini are not available, spaghetti is a good substitute. Or bow tie pasta for a change of pace, especially if adding chicken or shellfish.

Linguini in Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic-Basil Toast

This quick and easy recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, July 2009.  The bread used for toast in the original recipe is English muffin; I prefer using ciabatta or baguette made partially with whole grain flour from a local artisan bakery – much better texture and flavor with this Italian dish. “French bread” will work in a pinch.  Another great choice is Focaccia; if you make your own, use fresh basil instead of rosemary for the topping. I have three great focaccia recipes on this site:

I highly recommend using Kalamata olives or other brined Greek olives in this recipe, rather than canned black olives.  The former are lacto-fermented and far more healthful than the latter, which are canned in a vinegar brine.

I prefer the sweet flavor of grape tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes will also work.  In a pinch, you can use 2-3 salad tomatoes, diced.

Serves 4.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Prep:
  • 6 cloves garlic (4 cloves if not making toast)
  • ⅔ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ cup halved, pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Optional additional vegetables: cut broccoli or cauliflower into florets; cut green beans or asparagus into 1 – 2″ lengths; spinach or chard, cut or tear into smaller pieces as desired.
  • Toast (if not using focaccia):
  • 8 slices Italian bread (½ – ¾” thick)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pasta
  • 8 – 10 oz dried linguine
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup cooking wine or dry vermouth (optional)
  • ½ cup chicken stock or reserved pasta water
  • ¼ – 1 tsp Rapadura sugar
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly grated black pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish
  • Equipment:
  • baking sheet
  • brush
  • small bowl
  • saucepan (for cooking pasta)
  • 3 quart saucier or saucepan


  1. Prep: Mince garlic, set aside.
  2. Chop fresh basil; set aside
  3. Pit and halve olives; set aside.
  4. Halve tomatoes; set aside.
  5. Toast (if not using focaccia): Heat broiler.
  6. While linguini is cooking, combine in bowl:  1 Tbsp oil and ⅓ of minced garlic. Brush on one side of toast slices and place on baking sheet.  Broil, 3 – 4 inches from broiler, for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp chopped basil; set aside.
  7. Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside; save the cooking water from the pasta to add to the sauce with, or instead of, the chicken stock.
  8. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high.  Add remaining garlic, basil and tomatoes.  Cook 2 minutes; add broth and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. If adding broccoli or other vegges (except spinach or asparagus), add them now. If adding browned chicken cutlets or shellfish, add them now. Cook 3 – 4 minutes, until tomatoes soften; if you added shellfish, cook until the shells open.
  10. Stir in pasta and olives; if adding spinach or asparagus, add them now, and heat through.  Sprinkle cheese and basil over.
  11. Serve.


7/2/09:  Made as written, but for only one serving.  Used cracked wheat batard (bread) for the toast.  I had fresh garlic scapes from my garden, so I cut one up in 1/4″ lengths and cooked with tomatoes, garlic and basil.  Excellent addition, although it would be good without the scapes, since the garlic cloves provide the prominent flavor. Very good; the veggies, broth and oil make a nice thick sauce that clings to the pasta. but I would prefer less sugar.


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