Get ready for the quickest, easiest pasta sauce you ever made...completely from scratch! Cherry tomato pasta is packed with bursts of juicy tomato sweetness. This dish tastes like it came from a restaurant, but can be whipped up at home in about 25 minutes! Vegan and optionally gluten-free.
Dinner doesn't get much easier than this. When it comes to making pasta sauce from scratch, I generally think of thick tomato gravy, simmering away on the stove for hours. That's how I learned to make tomato sauce, and while it does result in a delicious dinner, there are other ways to do things. Quicker, easier ways!
Let me introduce you to the concept of cherry tomato pasta sauce. This stuff cooks up much quicker than lots of other tomato sauces, and it's super simple to make. Using super sweet, fresh cherry tomatoes will give you a sauce that's bursting with flavor, without the need for a long cook time or a ton of ingredients.
Cherry tomato pasta is also an excellent way to use up a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes from the garden.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Capellini pasta. You can really use any variety of dried pasta for this recipe, but capellini (also known as angel hair) works really well with this light and juicy sauce. Spaghetti, penne, or fusilli would also be great options. Use gluten-free pasta if needed.
- Olive oil.
- Cherry tomatoes. The better and sweeter your cherry tomatoes, the better your sauce will turn out. I highly encourage you to give this recipe a try when super fresh, super flavorful cherry tomatoes are abundant.
- Balsamic vinegar. Choose a good quality balsamic vinegar that's thick and syrupy.
- Red pepper flakes. These will add a tiny little bit of spice to the sauce. You can leave them out if you're not into heat.
- Black pepper.
- Fresh basil.
How It's Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
Start by heating some olive oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot you can add minced garlic. Sauté it briefly, stirring it the entire time so it doesn't burn.
Add the cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir everything up, then let the mixture slowly begin to heat up.
As the sauce simmers the cherry tomatoes will begin bursting. Smush them with a spoon, or, alternatively, you can use a fork or potato masher.
Stir in the tomato paste and let the sauce simmer for just a minute more. Take the skillet off of heat and stir in some roughly chopped fresh basil leaves.
Tip: It's up to you how smooth or chunky you make your pasta sauce. For smoother sauce, let it cook longer so more of the tomatoes burst. For chunkier sauce, cook it more briefly and mash fewer tomatoes.
Once the sauce is done you can toss it with cooked pasta. Give it a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese if you'd like.
Leftovers & Storage
Leftover cherry tomato pasta will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days or in the freezer for about 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is if you use gluten-free pasta.
Nope! That's one of the great things about this dish. Since cherry tomatoes are small, you'll only get little bits of peel in the sauce, which you probably won't mind (they actually create a nice textural variation). So no need to peel them!
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Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta
Get ready for the quickest, easiest pasta sauce you ever made...completely from scratch! Cherry tomato pasta is packed with bursts of juicy tomato sweetness. This dish tastes like it came from a restaurant, but can be whipped up at home in about 25 minutes!
- 10 ounces dried capellini pasta (or pasta of choice)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. Drain the pasta into a colander when done.
While the pasta cooks, place the olive oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up.
Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic. Sauté the garlic for about 1 minute, until it become very fragrant.
Add the cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
Cook the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the tomatoes begin to burst you can start mashing them with the back of a spoon, or use a fork or tomato masher. (see Note)
Stir in the tomato paste and continue simmering the sauce for about 1 minute.
Remove the skillet from heat. Season with additional salt if desired, as well as some black pepper to taste. Adjust any other seasonings to taste. Stir in the basil until it wilts.
Add the pasta to the sauce and gently combine everything with a large fork.
Divide onto plates and serve.
If you like a chunkier sauce with more whole tomatoes, cook the sauce more briefly and keep the mashing to a minimum. For a smoother, saucier sauce, cook it longer and mash the tomatoes well.