Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

4.56 from 38 votes

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Made with pantry and fresh ingredients, this sun dried tomato pasta is a super easy recipe that’s perfect for a busy weeknight. But you will love it so much that it’s worthy of a weekend meal too. Maybe paired with a glass of wine.

Pasta with sun dried tomatoes and arugula in a bowl

As I’ve said countless times, pasta is my go-to for dinner on pretty much any hectic day of the week. To make things even quicker, sometimes I try to pick ingredients that are already exciting as is and have so much flavor without me having to do more than just chopping them.

In this sun dried tomato pasta recipe, I use a jar of these magical tomatoes. I chop them and add them to sautéed garlic and spices that I limit to red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. That’s because these tomatoes don’t need anything else.

For something fresh, I mix in baby arugula leaves to finish the pasta. It’s a good balance with the amount of pantry ingredients.

And of course, the penne has lots of Parmesan to bring everything together. Unlike other recipes with these special tomatoes, I skip heavy cream and stick to good olive oil and a bit of pasta water to dress the noodles. Trust me, it works, and it feels appropriate no matter the season.

Sun dried tomato pasta with arugula in a skillet

What Are Sun Dried Tomatoes?

Thinking about drying tomatoes out in the sun sounds like a Mediterranean dream. These ripe tomatoes are dried in the sun or in an oven. When they lose all their moisture and water, the flavors become really concentrated. Sun dried tomatoes are tart and strong in taste.

You can find them jarred in oil sometimes with Italian seasoning. The quality of this oil is not the best, so I drain the tomatoes and use fresh olive oil when I cook with them.

These tomatoes are also sold dry-packed in bags without any oil. In this case, you need to rehydrate and soak them in warm water.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients including penne, sun dried tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, garlic and parmesan

This is what you need:

  • Sun dried tomatoes are easy to find in the Italian food section at the grocery with the jarred olives, artichokes and other antipasti. If you prefer roasted peppers, you can chop them and swap some or all the tomatoes.
  • Pasta: Penne rigate with ridges are what I like because they pick up the tomatoes and other ingredients. Corkscrew shapes like fusilli, rotini, cavatappi or gemelli are also great options.
  • Garlic is so important for the recipe.
  • Arugula has a nice peppery flavor. Lots of spinach is a good substitute.
  • Parmesan: Stirred into the hot pasta, the cheese melts right in. I also sprinkle more on top as I serve it.
  • Olive oil: Definitely use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Red pepper flakes add a little bit of heat.
  • Salt & pepper: Taste the pasta and add more seasonings as needed to the final dish.
  • Parsley is a final herby finishing garnish. You could also use fresh basil.

How To Make Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

1. Cook the penne on the stove in a large pot of water. Usually, that’s around 10 minutes. Check the recommended time on the package directions. Make sure not to overcook it. You want the noodles to be al dente and have some bite. Save a half-cup pasta cooking water.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.

Cook the pasta in a pot on the stove. Then warm the olive oil in a skillet.

3. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sauté until fragrant.

4. Stir the tomatoes into the garlic and oil and continue cooking for a couple minutes.

Saute the garlic and spices in a skillet. Then stir in the sun dried tomatoes.

5. Spoon the cooked pasta into the tomatoes and stir everything together. Then pour in the reserved pasta cooking water.  It will bubble and quickly disappear, but as you stir the pasta and tomatoes, it will leave a silky coating with the oil on the pasta.

6. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Add the pasta to the tomatoes and then stir in the Parmesan.

7. Fold in the arugula. The greens will look like a lot in the skillet, but they will quickly wilt.

8. Garnish with parsley and more Parmesan before serving.

Fold the arugula into th pasta in the skillet. Then garnish with Parsley and more parmesan cheese.


A salad is my pick to go with most pasta dishes including this one. Depending on the season, try an Italian chopped salad, arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, roasted pepper panzanella or brussels sprout Caesar salad.


You can store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Adding more greens is a great way to eat it cold like a pasta salad. Or you can warm it in the microwave or in a large pan on the stove with a touch of oil.

Sun dried tomato penne on a plate with a fork

More Easy Pasta Recipes

Rigatoni & Tomato Sauce
Lemon Pepper Spaghetti
Burst Tomato Pasta
Vegan Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta
One Pan Orecchiette
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

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Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

4.56 from 38 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Made with pantry and fresh ingredients, this sun dried tomato pasta is a super easy recipe that’s perfect for a busy weeknight. But you will love it so much that it’s worthy of a weekend meal too.


  • 10 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 8- ounce jar sun dried tomatoes, oil drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • 1-1/2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne until al dente according package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining in a strainer.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Stir the pasta into the tomatoes.
  • Pour in the reserved pasta cooking water letting it bubble for a couple minutes, stirring to coat the pasta.
  • Fold in the Parmesan followed by the arugula.
  • Garnish with parsley and additional cheese before serving.



Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Eat cold with additional greens or warm in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove with a little olive oil.


Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 797mg | Potassium: 2169mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 869IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Fast , easy , yummy ! Will definitely make again, might sprinkle with some grilled chopped bacon on top .

  2. 5 stars
    So I stuffed up by not retaining the pasta water. Thankfully I’d put the pasta over the pot I used to cook it, and there was a little in there, I topped it up with tap water and it still turned out really tasty. Next time I’ll pay attention to what I’m doing more though!!!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for my mom! Only 2 people would be eating this so I didn’t follow measurements lol. The sauce turned out really tasty! I looked through the comments and noticed someone said pasta water is key in the ingredients so I made sure to add it in as well. I also sautéed some onions until it caramelized and folded it in and added colorful tomatoes for a burst of freshness. I don’t have arugula or parm but I’m sure this would have been to die for! I’d definitely make this again.

  4. 5 stars
    added ground turkey, used spinach because i did not have arugula, and used mozarella because i did not have parmesan. i would use less salt next time, but wow, so easy and delicious!!

  5. 5 stars
    Very amazing….I didn’t have everything but used onions ans mushrooms with butter little rose wine before I added the sundried tomatoes and Roquette….and fromage brebis (traveling in France and beaucoup of every other cheese) turned out great-no leftovers.

  6. This was so good! I amazed how flavorful the dish turned out with such simple ingredients. Truly a keeper! Thank-you!

  7. I love sun-dried tomatoes. Look forward to making the recipe. Did yu use the plain sun-dried or the tomatoes in oil that you mixed in with penne

    1. I use the sun-dried tomatoes that come packed in oil in a jar, but I do drain the oil and just use the tomatoes for the pasta.