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15-Minute Cherry Tomato Pasta



Platter of spaghetti with quick cherry tomato sauce one of our favorite easy summer pastas.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

This cherry tomato pasta recipe takes full advantage of the juicy sweetness and acidic pop of ripe summer tomatoes, but don’t let that stop you from making it year-round. Thanks to the fact that cherry and grape tomatoes ripen in less time than larger varieties—and because they’re easy to grow in hothouses and warmer climates—good ones can be found any time you go to the market.

The easy pasta dish makes a wonderful weeknight dinner. By the time the noodles are finished cooking, the tomatoes will have softened and split, and their sweet-tart juices will have coalesced into a light pasta sauce. If you crave a little more heat, a dash of crushed red pepper flakes wouldn’t be unwelcome; or if you’d like some crunch, top the pasta with toasted Italian breadcrumbs. Reserve some of the starchy pasta water and add it to the skillet bit by bit to give the sauce a little more body.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese (ideally grated right over each serving with a convenient Microplane), and dinner is ready.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    15 minutes

  • Yield

    4–6 servings


1 lb. pasta
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more for pasta pot
½ cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 pints cherry tomatoes
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Cook 1 lb. pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain pasta, reserving pasta water, and transfer to a large bowl.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, warm ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet (12" diameter) or wide heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped, then 3 pints cherry tomatoes, ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of sugar, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Cook pasta sauce, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst and release their juices, 6–8 minutes.

    Step 3

    Toss cooked pasta with cherry tomato sauce; if needed, thin sauce with a little reserved pasta water. Toss in 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

    Editor’s note: This recipe was first published online in September 2015 as ‘Pasta With 15-Minute Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce’. Head this way for more of our best recipes for fresh tomatoes

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Reviews (261)

Back to TopTriangle
  • Absolutely delicious! I can’t recommend this enough. How can something so simple taste so good?

    • Anne

    • Durham, NC

    • 11/13/2022

  • Hmmm

    • Anonymous

    • Hobby

    • 1/24/2023

  • Mgujnvg

    • Anonymous

    • 1/24/2023

  • Delish and extremely easy to prepare!

    • Anonymous

    • 1/27/2023

  • Perfect for a lazy night.

    • B

    • NY

    • 2/1/2023

  • Yummerino

    • Anonymous

    • 2/23/2023

  • So good

    • Anonymous

    • 2/23/2023

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