This Cheesecake Factory Tomato Basil Pasta recipe is a delicious copycat version of the original dish. It’s filled with flavor and is so easy to make at home, you can bring the Cheesecake Factory to your own kitchen!
Why pay extra to eat out when you can easily make this tomato basil pasta at home? This dish may be budget friendly but it definitely doesn’t skimp on the flavor! This pasta is seriously so good!
You may think you can’t replicate fancy dishes from your favorite restaurant, but I’m here to tell you you can! This recipe is easy and we’ll guide you every step of the way. In the end, you’ll have a plate of pasta so tasty and perfect you might apply for a job at the cheesecake factory!
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Substitutions
All of these cheesecake factory tomato basil pasta ingredients have substitutions that are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted.
Penne Pasta: We use Barilla penne pasta but they also make a protein version that we highly recommend. However, you can use any penne you like!
Substitutions: your favorite pasta type or shape can be used such as bow tie, rotini, spaghetti, etc. Gluten-free pasta, protein, chickpea, or regular pasta also just work!
Chicken Breast: Chicken adds a boost of protein to the dish! We use fresh chicken breasts.
Substitutions: You can use frozen chicken breasts if needed, but they’ll have to cook longer. If you want a different meat then homemade meatballs, frozen meatballs, and Italian sausage are all good substitution options.
Canned diced and seasoned tomatoes: Tomatoes are the base for the sauce. Italian seasoned diced tomatoes make our job easy by having the tomatoes, flavor, and juice all set to use in a can!
Substitutions: Seasoned tomato sauce can be used as a substitute. Fresh tomatoes can also be used. If using fresh tomatoes, be sure to add 1 tbsp Italian seasoning for that Italian flavor.
Garlic: Garlic is like love, you can never have enough! Ha, but seriously, sautéing garlic in oil enhances all the other flavors of this pasta. We prefer to use minced garlic because we’re lazy.
Substitutions: We use minced garlic, but you can also use fresh garlic cloves that are diced. You can also use garlic powder by substituting 1 tsp per tbsp of minced garlic.
Olive Oil: Nothing more Italian than olive oil! It is packed with healthy fats and easy to get!
Substitutions: You can use avocado oil, ghee, or butter in place of olive oil.
Basil: Basil adds a nice refreshing and earthy flavor, and this Cheesecake Factory tomato basil pasta recipe wouldn’t be complete without it. Since we chop and combine with oil to make into a basil drizzle, it also adds great color that brightens the dish!
Substitutions: We use fresh basil leaves. You can also use dry basil.
Mozzarella: Cheese adds tasty creaminess to the dish, and fresh mozzarella is the classic Italian cheese. The mozzarella pearls are pressed so they stay together and provide a nice bite of cheese rather than cheese being melted throughout.
Substitutions: Shredded mozzarella can be used but it will melt into the pasta. This is fine! It just creates a different texture for the dish. You can also use parmesan or an Italian blend cheese as a substitute.
Spices: We use salt and pepper to taste.
Substitutions: Any other spice you like! Italian seasoning, onion powder, and garlic salt are all optional add ins but are not necessary.
How to Make this – Step by Step
Heat one tbsp olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Also, cook penne pasta in a large pot according to directions on package.
While the pasta cooks, slice chicken breasts into 1” slices. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and tomatoes to skillet with garlic. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Note: chicken should cook until it is no longer pink in the middle and/or reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
While pasta and chicken cook, blend basil in a food processor. After basil leaves are blended, add two tbsp olive oil and blend again until well combined.
Drain pasta and add chicken, tomato sauce, and mozzarella to pasta. Stir well. Drizzle with basil blend as desired and enjoy!
Watch How to Make This – Step by Step
In order to assure your basil is finely chopped, it’s important to blend the leaves in the food processor first before adding any oil. This will allow the food processor to kick the leaves around and really get them nice and chopped!
Facts and Common Questions
Does protein pasta taste different?
It doesn’t have to! We LOVE Barilla Protein+ Pasta because it’s available at Target, tastes literally the same as regular pasta, and cooks the same! It’s just the best pasta with protein out there. There are some prominent protein pasta brands out there that do, in fact, taste very different. They are gritty and not as soft as traditional pasta. They also have a more earthy flavor versus a neutral flavor.
What do you serve with tomato basil pasta?
Here are a few great pairing ideas to serve with this Cheesecake Factory Chicken Tomato Basil Pasta recipe:
Salad: Caesar salad or a salad with spring mix lettuce and a balsamic vinaigrette are great pairings with this dish because their lightness complements the bold flavored pasta.
Garlic bread: Bread goes well with pasta because it can be dipped in the extra sauce and soak up the flavors! Try this recipe from Pip and Ebby!
Are there any add ins that work well with this dish?
Although the ingredients in this recipe all fit well together, there are some additional items that can be added to spice up this dish. If you want a little kick, try adding red pepper flakes with the garlic to sauté it. Even though there are enough tomatoes, sun-dried or oven-dried tomato pieces added on top can bring some more bold flavors to the dish. Lastly, if you want even more protein, try adding frozen or homemade meatballs in addition to the chicken.
Is this Tomato Basil Pasta Cheesecake Factory Recipe healthy?
Whether something is healthy or not is always up for debate. Here are some stats on our recipe we’ll share and you can make the determination yourself: This copycat Cheesecake Factory tomato basil pasta calories are 780 per serving. There are also 50g protein and 105g carbs per serving. We use a gluten-free pasta so this dish is also gluten-free!
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
To save this for later: Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. It will keep in the fridge for 2 days but cannot be frozen due to the fresh mozzarella. Wait to cover it until the pasta is cool. The pasta will begin to dry out the longer it is in the fridge.
To reheat the pasta from the fridge: Add a splash of water or cream to the container and then heat a serving in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring it every 30 seconds. You can also do this on the stove top.
Let’s talk about basil! The word basil comes from a Greek word meaning “royal”. Basil is a member of the mint family and there are over 60 varieties! Nutrition facts about basil include that it’s rich in nutrients and antioxidants. For example, it contains Vitamin A, C, and K, along with maganese, iron, folate, and calcium (source)
More Joyful Recipes!
Looking for great dishes to serve with this delicious pasta dish? Try these:
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 16 oz chicken breast
- 16 oz penne pasta
- 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup basil leaves (about 20 medium leaves)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- Heat one tbsp live oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Also, cook penne pasta in a large pot according to directions on package.
- While the pasta cooks, slice chicken breasts into 1” slices. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and tomatoes to skillet with garlic. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Note: chicken should cook until it is no longer pink in the middle and/or reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- While pasta and chicken cook, blend basil leaves in a food processor. After basil leaves are blended, add two tbsp olive oil and blend again until well combined.
- Once pasta is done cooking, drain the water and then combine the pasta and mozzarella pearls with the tomato sauce and chicken. If the skillet you cooked the chicken and tomatoes in is big enough, we recommend combining the pasta there.
- Serve hot and drizzle the basil and oil mixture on top. Enjoy!