Out of all the varieties of tomatoes, you can always count on the fruity little cherry tomato having your back. Burst Tomato Pasta makes the most of this little gem from your garden.
Burst Tomato Pasta is simple and stunning. This recipe is really all about the pan sauce. Fresh garden ingredients all dance and mingle a seductive tryst in a blistering hot pan, all the while showcasing the modest cherry tomato.
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I am talking today about a pasta dish that you’re kinda going to need in your life forever. Yes, I’m dead serious. This straightforward method could be considered Italian fast food, as it can be prepared in one pan and be on your table in under 30 minutes.
Cherry tomatoes are naturally sweet, and the riper, the better. Just 10 minutes in a scorching pan with a bit of quality olive oil and some garlic builds a flavorful and jammy sauce that offers endless meal possibilities. Pair with any kind of pasta, or spoon over cauliflower rice for a clean-eating and whole meal. Seriously amazing restaurant quality food in half an hour or less. If you like it spicy, add additional red pepper flakes. If you like the umami flavor that briny Kalamata olives or capers offer, toss a handful in. The only fixed ingredients that you must have to pull this magical sauce off are very ripe cherry tomatoes, freshly chopped garlic and lots of it, and fresh whole leafy basil.
A set of dedicated pasta bowls is crucial to getting your twirl down pat. Many colors, many patterns, but the best ones are shallow and wide...and they hold a lotta pasta! The white bowls in the center are the ones I have been gushing over, and that are in practically every photo of late. Kitchen necessaries, click images for pricing.
My very favorite pasta sauce is anything made with fresh, ripe tomatoes just picked from the garden.
Some may refer to this as summer pasta, but I prefer to think of it more as an autumn dish because it helps me to transition from white and Rosé wines to bold reds in line with both the season and the strong flavors in this dish. In June, July, August and September, I am still eating lighter meals and drinking lighter wines. But pasta recipes, especially an easy burst cherry tomato pasta, is fall fare that cries out for a fuller bodied wine. Something oaky and smoky. I decant and allow my wine to sit for 30 minutes time before pouring. I enjoy a glass while cooking up my cherry tomato pasta sauce. It is honestly one of my FAVORITE ways to spend the night in by myself in cozy clothes with the television going. Nesting.
ONE...GOOD...PASTA...POT...every kitchen needs a real one of these WITH the insert. Pasta night necessaries. Click images for pricing.
This easy pasta dish could easily be considered Italian fast food.
Building my fresh tomato pasta sauce dictates what I will serve alongside, and also what wine I pair with it. On my short list of add-ins beyond what the recipe calls for are pancetta, prosciutto, mozzarella or Burrata, capers, sweet pickled cherry peppers, torn parsley leaves, toasted pine nuts, lemony gremolata breadcrumbs, or a proteins such as seared scallops or chicken. Yep...the possibilities are endless once you have established the base sauce with the four prime ingredients; cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, good oil, and lots of garlic. This is adaptable, easy pasta.
When I go too long without a comfy plate of pasta, I get cranky. I honestly hanker for the stuff but largely prefer a sauce like this over a concentrated Sunday gravy. That’s Yankee Italian speak for tomato sauce. Do not get me wrong, Sunday gravy has its place. There is just something about this method, this one-pan wonder. It takes all my willpower not to cook this up every night of the week.
I mentioned belonging to a wine delivery service. Never in my life did I think I would commit to something like this, but I have and am glad I did. I almost cannot stop talking about it. See my video review of this subscription here. (scroll about half way down the page) Four times annually, I will be shipped a deeply discounted case of wine tailored to my taste. If you are into Rosé, they are still running a FANTASTIC special here.
This delicious dish can be prepared easily in under thirty minutes. Buon Appetito!
Nights here in Charleston are cooler, and I just received another case of wine through the delivery service I joined. There is so far, one red that I am gushing over, and it is AMAZING with this pasta. Maybe it is because cherry tomatoes are so bright, fresh and easy to cook. Oh, and when they pan roast and burst at their seems, they are ridiculously SWEET. The final product plays well with full bodied reds. Just the facts. I am talking the last of summer’s cherry tomatoes, briefly simmered with garlic and good olive oil until they detonate.
The non-stick skillet and pasta spoon in the middle are what I am using in this posts photos. I purchased and have been very happy with this set, making it a dedicated pasta pot of sorts. Whether you are looking for practical such as Martha Stewart's pasta spoon on the left, or elegant such as Royal Worcester's pasta spoon on the right, make sure you snag one of these for doing things right. Pasta night necessaries, click images for pricing.
Cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest summer plants to grow in a large pot or planter on your porch, producing all summer and well into the fall.
I remove the sauce from the heat, scrape it into a bowl for the few minutes the pasta will take to cook in the same pan with the addition of chicken broth. You read that correctly. Cook pasta in the same pot. And at the moment when I twirl and swirl the nearly finished pasta in the pan, I add a scant amount of butter and a scant amount of milk or cream and pour the sauce back in to incorporate. A good toss with an aged hard cheese and whole leafy fresh basil…goodness gracious this is outrageously good. Homemade vegetable stock could carry it all the way over home plate, butter and cream omitted, if you prefer a clean dish.
As our carefree days of summer wane, these gorgeous tomatoes are compliments of my local market vendor. He apologized as he handed me an overflowing bag of candy-colored cherry tomatoes, fearing because they are the last of his crop, they’d somehow be unsuitable. Well, this recipe is for you Mr. Middleton, you and your VERY BEAUTIFUL and very suitable tomatoes.
I HAD to throw this up on this post, mainly because Crate & Barrel has done it again - this absolutely will make a GREAT GIFT! Click image for pricing.
Just gaze upon beautiful burst cherry tomatoes popping and bubbling in a heap of Kalamata olives, crackling Pancetta, good oil, and a ton of chopped garlic cloves…that is a one-two punch of AROMA and TASTE right there!
You can use a variety of pasta types in this dish. I prefer long dried pasta like spaghetti or bucatini or the angel hair I have used in my photos. For this method to work correctly, dry pasta is essential. It also helps if that dry pasta is quick cooking like angel hair or even linguini. A good quality olive oil is also essential in this dish. I use Thea in my home kitchen almost exclusively. It matters when there are so few ingredients in a dish. But the ingredient that turns this simple pasta into a total showstopper is of course cherry tomatoes. Make sure they are ripe. The riper they are, the faster the sauce cooks.
You want to add more tomatoes to the pan than you think you will eat. This is because when the tomatoes burst, their juices caramelize almost instantly. That combination of sweet, sticky juice and the fond that is produced in the bottom of the pan, magically melt into the most luxurious and creamy sauce. The pasta becomes perfectly coated, and the still weeping tomatoes create puddles of tomatoey-creamy goodness to be relished. Serve this dish with crusty Italian bread and a big leafy salad, and you have a complete meal.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
- large, non-stick skillet with deep sides
- rubber spatula
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 24 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Burst Tomato Pasta
- 1 pound angel hair dry
- 1/4 cup olive oil I am using Thea
- 1 1/2 cups basil fresh
- pinch Kosher salt
- 8 cloves garlic chopped
- pinch red pepper flakes or more if you like heat
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes any color(s), any variety
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- **2 cups chicken broth **the amount of broth you will need depends on how thick your pasta is; for heavier pasta like bucatini, have an additional WARM cup of broth on hand and taste a strand for doneness before adding additional liquid
- 1 tablespoon salted sweet butter
- 1 tablespoon cream or milk
- flakey sea salt I am using Malden sea salt
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until just softened but color has not changed.
If using any add-ins, add them to the skillet now and sauté for 3 minutes before adding cherry tomatoes.
- Add cherry tomatoes all at once and cook until tomatoes begin to burst. Use a wooden spoon to gently press on the tomatoes as they soften to help them burst. Season with Kosher salt and cook for about 10 minutes or until tomatoes have started to release their juices.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sauce into a bowl. Return pan to heat and add chicken broth. Scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan so it mixes with the broth. Add the dry pasta to the broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook over medium to medium-low until pasta has nearly absorbed all of the liquid.
NOTE: You must taste a strand of pasta for doneness - if you are using a dense pasta, you may need to add additional broth to your pan if the strand needs more time. Do so in 1/4 cup increments.
- Once pasta is almost done cooking, remove it from the heat. Add the tablespoon of butter, the cream or milk, the fresh basil leaves, and the sauce. Use rubber tongs to toss the pasta.
- Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl or 4 individual serving bowls. Top with additional fresh basil if desired, red pepper flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of flakey sea salt, and the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve this pasta dish with a bold red wine, preferably something oak-aged and on the smoky side.