Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
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Cook sweet cherry tomatoes under the broiler until they burst with juice! This recipe is super-quick to make and tastes so fresh and delicious. Use this sauce to top pasta, zucchini noodles, pizza or on toasted bread.
Cherry tomato pasta sauce makes a magically quick dinner. I can’t tell you how many times I make this sauce when there’s nothing else in the house to cook.
Make it at the height of summer with your super-sweet garden-grown or farmer’s market tomatoes or during the rest of the year, when we you want a taste of summer.
While the tomatoes roast under the broiler in minutes, the pasta water comes to a boil and dinner is ready in a flash!
Cherry tomatoes for all seasons
Of the hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, it’s the fruity little cherry tomato that always has your back.
They’re one of the easiest things to grow in a pot or planter on your porch, producing all summer into the fall. When cherry tomatoes are in season, they’re hard to resist. You can find them at the farmers’ market or your own garden.
Even out of season in the middle of winter, you can pretty much find them in any supermarket.
True, they’ll never take the place of a juicy peak-of-summer heirloom tomato, but they do pack a lot of flavor in a small package and they come in a variety of jewel-box colors.
Make juicy burst cherry tomato sauce:
I usually go the slow-roasting route with cherry tomatoes to concentrate and coax out as much of their sweetness as possible. But one night I realized I’d forgotten to turn on the oven in time for dinner.
So I just dumped them into my cast-iron skillet and turned on the broiler. Less than fifteen minutes later, the tomatoes were charred until they burst, making a pan sauce with chopped garlic cloves, olive oil and some red chili flakes.
The steps to make this sauce are so simple:
- Dump about 2 pints of cherry tomatoes into a large skillet with some olive oil. Cherry tomatoes don’t need to be peeled, so don’t worry about that. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the tomatoes brown and begin to burst.
- Add a few seasonings to the juicy hot tomatoes — punchy red chili, sliced garlic and fresh herbs. You can mash them up with a wooden spoon (or use a potato masher) just until they break up into a chunky sauce.
- Then toss them with cooked pasta and dollops of creamy ricotta cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese and serve. It’s so good!
How to serve the dish
You gotta love rustic pasta sauces like this. I love to serve the sauce over spaghetti or linguine with some fresh basil (if it’s summer).
But don’t stop there — try these tomatoes spread on flatbread or pizza, on top of risotto or piled onto warm garlic bread.
Check out more quick pasta recipes:
- Bucatini with Burrata and Sicilian Almond Pesto
- Pappardelle with Rosemary Portobello Sauce
- Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce
- Pasta al Limone
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Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound (450 g) cherry tomatoes, preferably mixed colors
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces (340 g) spaghetti, bucatini, or linguine
- 1 fat garlic clove, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon crumbled red chili
- Black pepper from a pepper grinder
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cup (50 g) grated fresh parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme and/or basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the broiler to high, with a rack positioned 6-inches from the heat source.
- Bring a large pot (6 quarts) of water to a boil and season with 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Put the tomatoes, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large (10 or 12-inch) ovenproof skillet. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the tomatoes brown and begin to burst, shaking the pan once or twice so they cook evenly, 5 – 10 minutes depending on the power of your broiler
- Remove the pan from the broiler and stir in the garlic, chili and about 10 twists of black pepper. Gently smoosh the tomatoes with the back of a spoon so that they release their juices.
- Drain the pasta and toss with sauce. Spoon 2 generous tablespoons of ricotta into each serving bowl and sprinkle with the parmesan. Divide the hot pasta into the bowls and sprinkle with the herbs.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The sauce will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Try these tomatoes spread on flatbread or pizza, on top of risotto or piled onto warm garlic bread for a delicious appetizer or snack.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
Great way to use up fresh cherry tomatoes from our garden in fact I added extra and would add even more next time. The ricotta was very tasty in this dish and putting it in the dish before putting the pasta in worked out great to warm up the ricotta.
A lot to like about this recipe. With that said, if I make it again, I’ll save a cup of pasta water prior to draining the pasta, so I can loosen things up if need be (e.g., if there’s not much moisture left from the broiled tomatoes, which was the case for me). I’ll also start with less ricotta in each bowl. I found it a bit too heavy and gloppy.
Perfect weeknight dinner idea!