Fast and Easy Pasta With Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

With just a handful of ingredients, you can make a delicious fresh tomato sauce for pasta in 10 minutes flat.

Photographs and video: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Cherry tomatoes are extra sweet and have plenty of pectin, making them great for a fast and easy sauce.
  • The sauce cooks down in the same amount of time it takes to boil pasta, for a quick and easy fresh meal.

Cherry tomatoes are almost always sweeter, riper, and higher in pectin than larger tomatoes at the supermarket. All of these factors mean that cherry tomatoes are fantastic for making a rich, thick, flavorful pasta sauce. Even better: It takes only four ingredients and about 10 minutes, start to finish—less time than it takes to cook the pasta you're gonna serve it with.

Recipe Facts



Active: 12 mins
Total: 12 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 pound (450g) dry pasta

  • Kosher salt

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 2 pints; 675g)

  • 1 ounce fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (about 1 cup; 30g)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Place pasta in a large skillet or sauté pan and cover with water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil until just shy of al dente, about 1 minute less than the package instructions recommend.

  2. Meanwhile, heat garlic and 4 tablespoons (60ml) olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to burst. You can help them along by pressing on them with the back of a wooden spoon as they soften.

  3. Continue to cook until sauce is rich and creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. When pasta is cooked, drain, reserving 1 cup (240ml) pasta water. Add pasta to sauce and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring and tossing constantly and adding reserved pasta water as necessary to adjust consistency to a nice, creamy flow. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, and grate in a generous shower of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan at the table.

Special equipment

12-inch skillet, Microplane grater

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
430 Calories
15g Fat
62g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 430
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 198mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 17mg 85%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 465mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)