August 16, 2021

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Cherry Tomato Pasta! A simple, homemade sauce using fresh cherry tomatoes, pasta and plenty of basil. A staple weeknight summer recipe and easily vegan. 
Serves 4

Cherry Tomato Pasta! A simple, homemade sauce using fresh cherry tomatoes, pasta and plenty of basil. A staple weeknight summer recipe and easily vegan. 

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Is it even summer if you aren’t eating your body weight in tomatoes? I cannot get enough fresh tomatoes right now; from tomato sandwiches to BLT‘s to this simple cherry tomato pasta recipe, it’s all tomatoes from now until mid-September.

If you’ve never made sauce from fresh cherry tomatoes before, this recipe is for you. It’s so easy, it’s almost doesn’t need a formal recipe. Reduce fresh cherry tomatoes in plenty of garlicky olive oil, then toss with pasta and top with basil. How simple is that? Cherry Tomato Pasta

How to make Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

I make fresh tomato sauce at least weekly this time of year, and my fresh tomato sauce is a must if you are trying to use up a bumper of garden tomatoes as it’s perfect for batch cooking. Throw in glass jars and freeze for months! 

However, when I want a simpler sauce then I turn to this cherry tomato pasta recipe. Since cherry tomatoes are more flavorful year-round, this is also a great recipe to enjoy in the dead of winter when most grocery-store tomatoes are pale and tasteless. First, you’ll heat olive oil in a large saucepan and then add in garlic and red pepper. This infuses the olive oil with more flavor, though take care not to burn the garlic. If you do, remove and start again as burned garlic is impossible to remove from a dish and the flavor will continue to permeate. 

From there, add in the cherry tomatoes and cook until they burst. To help them along, gently press the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher. You don’t want all of them broken down, but enough so they become saucy. 

Cherry tomato pasta

The secret to making restaurant worthy pasta at home

Here’s the secret to making good pasta– finish cooking your pasta in the sauce. 

It makes a huge difference in the overall taste, and works for just about any cooked sauce. When I first started dating my husband he couldn’t believe how good my simple spaghetti was. The trick? I undercooked the noodles slightly, then finished cooking them in the warmed sauce, constantly tossing until the noodles soaked up the flavorful sauce and become perfectly al dente. 

You’ll use the same technique here, adding in a splash or two of pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce if it becomes too thick. 

What’s the difference between pasta water and regular water? 

You’ll often see in recipes that they call for reserved pasta water, literally the water that you cooked the pasta in. When I drain my pasta, I usually do so over a large bowl to catch the water or I’ll scoop out a laddle or two of pasta water and set aside before draining. Pasta water is different than regular water as it contains the starches from the pasta. These starches help the sauce cling to the cooked noodles — another trick for silky, rich pasta.

If you forget to reserve pasta water, regular water won’t allow the sauce to cling to the noodles as well so go slow in adding any if needed to loosen the sauce. 

Cherry Tomato Pasta

What pasta shape works best?

Shorter pasta works best in this dish, allowing you to grab a forkful of the pasta and the thicker cherry tomato sauce in one bite. Penne, ziti, farfalle, rigatoni or the like would all work here.

Cherry Tomato PAsta

More Summer Pasta Recipes:

Simple Fresh Tomato Sauce
Vegan Pesto Pasta
Gluten-Free Zucchini Lasagna
Sicilian Caponata Pasta
Corn Carbonara with Tempeh Bacon

Cherry Tomato Pasta

If you like this cherry tomato pasta recipe, make sure to come back to leave a comment and rate it! Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day. If you share on social, be sure to use the hashtag #delishknowledge 

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cherry tomato pasta

Cherry Tomato Pasta

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minues
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Cherry Tomato Pasta! A simple, homemade sauce using fresh cherry tomatoes, pasta and plenty of basil. A staple weeknight summer recipe and easily vegan.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minues
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minues
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Parmesan cheese, regular or vegan as desired

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just under al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper and stir for 30 seconds, taking care not to burn the garlic. If it burns, remove and start again.
  3. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook, gently shaking the pan, until the tomatoes begin to release some of their juices and burst, about 5 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently smash some of the tomatoes to help them burst as needed.
  4. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring often, until sauce starts to thicken and about 1/2 of the tomatoes have broken down.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the pan along with 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and cook another minute until pasta is al dente and sauce clings to the noodles. If the sauce is too thick, add in more pasta water as needed.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves and parm, if using.

Notes

If the sauce tastes too tart, add in a pinch of sugar to balance.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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