Cherry Tomato Pasta

This cherry tomato pasta is my ideal summer dinner. Filled with bursty tomatoes, garlic, and basil, it's fresh, flavorful, and super easy to make!

Cherry tomato pasta

Making this cherry tomato pasta recipe is like giving yourself a gift. It’s incredibly simple, so you don’t need a lot of time or energy to do it, and the flavor is just so good. Sweet, tangy, fresh…this cherry tomato pasta is what summer cooking is all about.

Cherry tomatoes on a platter

Cherry Tomato Pasta Recipe Ingredients

Like any good summer recipe, this cherry tomato pasta starts with peak-season produce. Here, that means lots and lots of cherry tomatoes. Use as many varieties as you can get your hands on. Any color or shape will work – the more, the merrier!

You’ll cook down half into a light, garlicky sauce. Then, you’ll add the rest in the final few minutes of cooking. That way, they’ll still be plump and bursty when you eat.

Cherry tomato pasta recipe ingredients

Here’s what else you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Pasta, of course! I love using bucatini here. The chewy, al dente noodles contrast perfectly with the juicy cherry tomatoes.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • Garlic – It infuses the pasta with nutty depth of flavor.
  • Capers and balsamic vinegar – They give the pasta a tangy, briny kick.
  • Lemon zest – It adds a nice brightness.
  • Red pepper flakes – For heat.
  • Fresh basil – Because tomatoes + basil are a match made in heaven! Its spicy, aromatic flavor is essential here.
  • Pecorino cheese – It gives the pasta a rich, savory finish. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, feel free to skip it, or sprinkle your pasta with my vegan Parmesan cheese instead. Both options are delicious!
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Cherry tomato pasta with basil

Cherry Tomato Pasta Serving Suggestions

This cherry tomato pasta recipe is the perfect easy, elegant summer dinner. Serve it with crusty bread for mopping up the pasta sauce and a simple salad. Any of these recipes would be a great pick:

Round out the meal with peach crisp or cobbler for dessert. Enjoy!

Cherry tomato pasta recipe

More Summer Pasta Recipes

If you love this recipe, try another summer pasta dish next:

Cherry Tomato Pasta

rate this recipe:
5 from 26 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Serves 4 to 6
This cherry tomato pasta recipe is a delicious summer dinner! Serve it with crusty bread for mopping up the fresh, garlicky tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces bucatini pasta
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes, divided
  • tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • cups fresh basil
  • ¼ cup pecorino, Parmesan, or Vegan Parmesan, optional

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring, until soft and fragrant. Add half the tomatoes along with the capers, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, and several grinds of pepper. Toss to coat. If the oil starts to sputter while cooking, turn the heat down as needed. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes break down and release their juices.
  • Add the remaining tomatoes, stir, and cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the second addition of tomatoes is just beginning to burst. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until the pasta is coated in the sauce and heated through.
  • Stir in the basil and cheese, if using. Season to taste and serve.

21 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Rachel K
    09.10.2022

    5 stars
    What a lovely way to use cherry tomatoes. This was PHENOMENAL. And so easy. i was lazy and used lemon juice instead of zest, and dried instead of fresh basil since I didn’t have any on hand. Can only imagine what it would have tasted like if I used fresh. So delicious! Will definitely be making again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.13.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Sara
    09.06.2022

    5 stars
    So good! Made exactly as written and it was delicious. The lemon zest and capers made it a restaurant-worthy meal (and a little different from all the other quick pasta recipes out there with cherry tomatoes, basil, and parmesan). I’m sad I didn’t discover this recipe earlier in the summer!

  3. JulesB
    08.15.2022

    5 stars
    This was so absolutely delicious! Like summer on a plate!

  4. Kim K.
    08.06.2022

    5 stars
    I’ve made other variations of this burst-cherry-tomato sauce, but this is by far my favorite. The capers and lemon zest completely put it over the top. It’s so easy, yet it looks and tastes like a dish you’d get at a fancy Italian restaurant!

    My garden is overflowing with ripe cherry tomatoes, so I started freezing the sauce for later, when garden-fresh tomatoes are no longer available. One recipe fills a quart-size container. When ready to use, defrost, heat, and add the cooked pasta, basil, and cheese.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.10.2022

      Hi Kim, I’m so glad it’s been such a great use for your cherry tomatoes!

  5. Sheri
    07.19.2022

    5 stars
    This was so good! We loved it! Going to make this again today – great flavor and super easy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.19.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. dani
    07.06.2022

    5 stars
    Made this for my family for dinner, was so easy and delicious! got compliments the whole dinner on how yummy it was!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.07.2022

      I’m so glad everyone loved it!

  7. Lynn
    07.03.2022

    5 stars
    This is a delicious meal, easy to make with readily available ingredients. It compares to a dinner served at. high end North End restaurant.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.04.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Valerie
    05.09.2022

    5 stars
    EXCELLENT!!
    I recently purchased grape tomatoes twice on sale, and hadn’t had occasion to use them. I was starting to feel guilty about having them in my fridge. I searched recipes for cherry tomato pasta, and found a few. Most of them were similar calling for olive oil, garlic, and basil, often with parmesan as a finishing touch. I found your recipe a little bit different and quite intriguing because of the addition of capers, balsamic vinegar, and lemon zest, and I just happened to have on hand capers, balsamic vinegar and lemon zest.
    What a sublime melding of flavours! Really impressed! (It didn’t look anywhere near the same as yours because i let the tomatoes burst but I’m pretty sure that’s the way they’re supposed to be)
    Lately I’ve been trying to unsubscribe from most of my recipe emails because there’s just too many but, because of this one recipe,I’m going to subscribe to yours.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.11.2022

      Hi Valerie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the flavor combination! I hope you enjoy the emails, thank you for subscribing 🙂

  9. Jackie
    10.30.2021

    5 stars
    Really good…. Didnt have capers… But super easy

  10. Lana
    09.29.2021

    5 stars
    I have made this numerous times. So delicious. Thank you!

  11. Jeannette
    09.01.2021

    5 stars
    Was absolutely delicious. I wanted some protein so added about 1/2 can of garbanzo beans — smashed up — to the tomatoes after they burst. Will make again for sure.

  12. helan
    08.16.2021

    5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It. I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends. Hope They will like it.

  13. Christine
    08.09.2021

    This was delicious. the whole family loved it. I doubled the basil and garlic, and I used spinach linguini. Such a wonderful and fresh sauce!

  14. Janet
    08.06.2021

    Looks fabulous! We’re heading home after a week of vacation and I was worried about what to do with all the cherry tomatoes that we haven’t harvested while away. This will put them to good use.

  15. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    08.05.2021

    great summer pasta dish, a nice pasta splurge for me and may even also try it with zucchini noodles to see how that tastes, thank you!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.