Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta (8 oz.) and cook according to directions until al dente.
Meanwhile, make the bruschetta. Add the minced garlic (2 cloves), olive oil (1/4 cup), balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon), fresh basil (1/2 cup), chopped tomatoes (2 cups), and shredded parmesan cheese (1/2 cup), as well as 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 tablespoon black pepper to a large bowl. Mix together and set aside as the water boils and pasta cooks, stirring occasionally and allowing the flavors to marry.
When the pasta has finished cooking to al dente, use a slotted spoon to transfer it directly from the pot to the bowl with the bruschetta. (Alternatively, you can set aside 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain in a colander, and mix the reserved pasta water in with everything in the large bowl).
Mix everything together in the bowl and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors and thicken a bit, stirring occasionally. Taste and season to taste if needed.
Serve with extra basil, parmesan, and black pepper if desired.
It's important to allow this pasta to sit for a few minutes so the sauce thickens. If it seems too thin, just give it a little more time. There may be more or less liquid depending on the kind of tomatoes you use- the chopped tomatoes may be blotted dry or seeded before using if this is a concern for you.
I used penne for this. It would be great with spaghetti, farfalle, linguine... whatever! Traditional white pasta will work best for creating a sauce because of it's starch content, but you can use whole wheat pasta, or a gluten-free pasta such as chickpea or rice if you prefer.
To make this vegan, substitute the parmesan cheese with your favorite substitute or omit it.
Traditional parmesan cheese may not be suitable for a strict vegetarian diet because it contains animal rennet. If you prefer, you can look for a suitable vegetarian substitute, such as a parmesan made with plant rennet.
This pasta can be served warm as is, or made ahead, refrigerated, and served cold within 24 hours.
Serve this pasta as a light meal on its own, or pair with grilled chicken or shrimp, or bulk it up with some fresh mozzarella, burrata, or white beans for more protein.