Cherry Tomato Pasta

This easy cherry tomato pasta recipe relies on the simplicity of ripe tomatoes, a pop of balsamic vinegar, and peppery torn basil.

Cherry tomato pasta

We’re smack in the midst of tomato season, and what better way to use them than in a classic pasta recipe? This cherry tomato pasta is covered in a balsamic sauce, peppered with Parmesan and dotted with torn basil. It uses normal ingredients from your pantry, but in ways you might never have tried them. And it only takes 20 minutes to make. Got tomatoes? Got basil? We’ve got your pasta. Keep reading for how to make it!

Cherry tomato pasta

How to make cherry tomato pasta

The philosophy behind this pasta: make a balsamic vinaigrette and toss with with the noodles. Wait, really? That’s what I asked Alex when he proposed this idea. Turns out, the balsamic vinegar adds the perfect tang to the noodles. You’ll make the balsamic sauce, throw it on the pasta, and then cook it for a few minutes: that helps to meld out the flavor and brings just the right nuance. This quick saute also breaks down the cherry tomatoes a bit so they get juicy and glossy.

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this cherry tomato pasta (see below for the full recipe):

  • Long pasta noodles: bucatini, fettucine, or spaghetti
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil
  • Ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Parmesan cheese

Start the pasta to boil, then whisk up the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, maple and olive oil into the balsamic sauce. When the pasta is al dente, drain it. Return it to the pot, then mix with the balsamic sauce and sliced cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Voila: you’ve got a seriously satisfying pasta dish in just 20 minutes.

Cherry tomatoes

Get the best cherry tomatoes you can find

Like most simple recipes, the flavor of this cherry tomato pasta is dependent on the quality of ingredients. It’s best to buy ripe, in season cherry tomatoes for this one. If it’s not tomato season, you can sometimes find tomatoes grown in a greenhouse (hydroponic) at the grocery store that have decent flavor. You’ll just want the highest in quality of cherry tomatoes for this recipe to shine!

Cherry tomato pasta

How to cook pasta to al dente

Many home cooks aren’t able to cook pasta to the elusive “al dente”. What does al dente mean? In Italian it means “to the bite” and it refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The difference between al dente pasta and limp pasta is immense. You’ll find that al dente pasta tastes so much more satisfying: maybe because it’s a little more work to chew it? You may also find yourself eating less pasta with al dente because you have to bite through each piece.

Interestingly, we’ve found that many of the package directions on pasta call for cooking it much too long! To cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of boiling water.
  • Always start taste testing a few minutes before the package instructions indicate to. The pasta should be tender, but still firm on the inside so that it has a little bite.

Some chefs say that you should see a tiny bit of white on the inside of the pasta, others say it should have just disappeared. Whatever the case, stay vigilant: pasta can go from al dente to overcooked in minutes!

Cherry tomato pasta

This cherry tomato pasta is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese. Or if you’d like, you could try it with Vegan Parmesan!

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Tomato basil pasta

Cherry Tomato Pasta


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 modest servings 1x

Description

This easy cherry tomato pasta recipe relies on the simplicity of ripe tomatoes, a pop of balsamic vinegar, and peppery torn basil.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bucatini, fettucine, or spaghetti noodles
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for vegan, try Vegan Parmesan Cheese)

Instructions

  1. Heat a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, checking for doneness a few minutes before the package instructions indicate (the pasta should be tender but still slightly firm).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt until fully combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon at a time and whisking until it incorporates and makes a creamy sauce.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half. Tear the basil leaves.
  4. Drain the pasta. In the pasta pot, combine the drained noodles with the balsamic sauce and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese and basil.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Cherry tomato pasta, Pasta with cherry tomatoes

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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