Fast and Easy Pasta With Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Fast and Easy Pasta With Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

[Photographs and video: J. Kenji López-Alt]

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.

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.
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6
  • Active time: 12 minutes
  • Total time:12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.