Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta is a quick and easy vegetarian recipe! With juicy fresh tomatoes, tender garlic and al dente spaghetti we bring this tasty combination together. Perfect as a weeknight dinner this pasta with burst cherry tomatoes requires minimal effort and you will end up turning to it again and again!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the cherry tomato burst pasta recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: everything you need to make this simple recipe can be bought from your local grocery store. They are all year round readily available ingredients that will be easy to get your hands on.
- Budget friendly: this simple pasta dish is a cost effective recipe that won't break the bank.
- Comfort food: with carbs but cutting down on the 'ugh spag bowl' effect which is delicious at times but too heavy when had too often.
- Minimal effort: there is not a lot of steps that go into making this pasta with cherry tomatoes. No lengthy cooking time needed and dinner is served without fan fare.
- Versatile: this is a basic pasta recipe with cherry tomatoes and a sauce made from the juice of them and reserved pasta water. It works. Yet if you wish too you can add some additional vegetables, leftover shredded chicken or crispy shrimp to diversify.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the burst tomato pasta recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Olive oil: we use olive oil to cook the cherry tomatoes on the stove top with the garlic, salt and pepper.
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves are best for this recipe. We need about 5 and want to thinly slice them as shown in the bowl in the photo above.
- Salt and pepper: we use kosher salt and a little bit of black pepper to season the tomato mixture.
- Basil: fresh basil leaves are an excellent garnish to use for this dish. They offer a bright scatter of colour over the pasta as well as providing herby freshness to the dish.
- Parmesan cheese: fresh is best from a block that you grate yourself. It is much softer and melt worthy than store bought grated cheese.
- Tomatoes: we need a combination here. They help us create the quick fresh tomato sauce. Predominately red fresh cherry tomatoes, but with a handful of other coloured tomatoes like orange grape tomatoes and larger tomatoes like a medley combination which offers a variety of different colours.
- Spaghetti: is the pasta used for the recipe and in the photos throughout the post. Dried spaghetti that we cook according to the packet instructions.
Top Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making my recipes. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the cherry tomato pasta recipe. We start by frying the garlic.
- Add the oil and garlic to the pan (Photo 1)
- Add the whole cherry tomatoes (Photo 2)
- Season with salt and pepper (Photo 3)
- Reserve some of the pasta water (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
Start to make the pasta by placing a large skillet on the stove top, turning the heat to high and adding the sliced garlic.
Cook the garlic for around 2 minutes so that it softens and starts to turn golden brown.
Once done add the assortment of tomatoes (whole not sliced) to the pan and fry them until they begin to 'burst' open and release their juices. This will take 4-5 minutes. When they have softened and burst you can turn the heat down.
On a separate element read and follow the package directions to cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water.
Moments before it is ready use a heatproof jug to scoop out around 2 cups of the pasta water like you see me doing in the photo above.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan (Photo 5)
Next drain pasta using a colander over the sink and discard the remaining water. Then add the al dente pasta to the garlic and tomato mixture as shown in the photo above.
- Add the pasta water to the pan (Photo 6)
Next measure 1 cup (250ml) of the reserved starchy pasta water and add that to the pan. This is how we create the burst cherry tomato sauce.
- Garnish the dish for serving (Photo 7)
Then get your garnish on by seasoning the pasta with black pepper, sprinkling freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top and scattering some fresh herbs like basil leaves across it so it pops with herby fresh colour!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
As we have salad in the main you are likely not wanting a huge side salad yet one that will pair nicely is the Fresh Herb Salad.
It will go down a treat with the Crumbed Lamb Cutlets also!
Otherwise at the end of the day if you were drawn in as it looks simple and easy and you want simple and easy for dinner without having to do a workout to get it sorted then make it, plate it and devour it.
It is juicy, sweet, chewy, savory and so good. Did I mention the tender burst tomatoes and sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top 😂😍👍.
A fresh white wine like Pinot gris will be the perfect way to relax and enjoy this summer pasta.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover pasta in a sealed, airtight container or plate with plastic wrap. They can be kept for 3 days and need to be reheated before being consumed.
How to Reheat
Add leftovers to a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Heat on high in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.
How to Freeze
Once cooked allow the dish to fully cool. Once it has use tongs to portion it into airtight containers. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, remove from the freezer and thaw fully before reheating using the method outlined above 😉👍.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- For other type of pasta options try using fettuccine, linguine or tagliatelle. You can also use your favorite pasta!
- If you want a little heat in the pasta you can add some chili flakes whilst you are frying off the garlic. 1 teaspoon will be plenty 😁👍.
- You can garnish the dish with fresh parsley, finely chopped with kitchen scissors if you like as an alternative to the basil.
- You can use pecorino romano cheese in place of the parmesan cheese if you wish too.
- Dollop on some ricotta or burrata cheese if you 'want more' on the plate.
- Add additional protein by using some leftover shredded chicken or cooked shrimp.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- For the tomatoes, try and get a few different colours in there. Like red cherry tomatoes, orange grape tomatoes and one of the medley packets of tomatoes that has green and maroon in there also.
- We don't slice the tomatoes in half. We cook them and as they cook the 'burst' open naturally releasing their juices which forms the basis for the pasta sauce.
- For the pasta water, we need 1 cup which is 250 ml. I find it easier however to scoop out more towards 2 cups. Then later measure the 1 cup when I am not standing over a pot of hot steamy pasta bubbling away. You will likely find it easier to do this too 😉👍.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use cherry tomatoes for pasta sauce?
Yes! Cherry tomatoes make an excellent pasta sauce. To prepare them fry them in olive oil with salt and garlic. Then when they burst add hot pasta and reserved pasta water which you toss and combine. They make the most delicious pasta sauce!
Are cherry or grape tomatoes better for pasta?
Using a combination of both cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes is best for pasta. This is as it creates a beautiful and bright coloured dish which looks appealing even before the pasta is tasted.
Why add pasta water to tomato sauce?
Adding the reserved pasta water which you cooked the pasta in to the sauce ensures that the starchy water will help the sauce cling to the cooked pasta. It is a secret trick that you should use almost always when making pasta with sauce. The results are fantastic!
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Dins dins. It can be something that you look forward to all day when you know it will be easy and taste good. Here are some options to give you more of that ease and good taste:
- Prawn Skewers
- Baked Ziti With Meatballs
- Artichoke Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with Jar Sauce
- Air Fryer Tortilla Pizza
- Chicken Pesto Linguine
- Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
- Beef Mince Pasta Bake
- Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil Note 1
- 5 cloves garlic thinly sliced, Note 2
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes Note 3
- 500 grams/16 oz spaghetti Note 4
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup/250 ml reserved pasta water Note 5
- black pepper
- parmesan cheese finely grated using a microplane zester
- basil leaves
- Garlic: place a large frying pan onto the stove top, turn the heat to high and add the olive oil and sliced garlic cloves. Cook for 2 minutes to soften and slightly brown the garlic.
- Tomatoes: add the tomatoes to the pan with the garlic, season with salt and pepper and then cook for 4-5 minutes until they burst and release their juices. Then turn the heat down to low.
- Pasta: read and follow the instructions on the pasta package to cook it. When it almost ready use a heatproof jug to scoop out 1-2 cups of the pasta water. Then use a colander over the sink to drain the rest of the pasta and discard that water.
- Combine: add the hot pasta to the garlic and tomato mixture in the pan. Then measure and pour in 1 cup (250 ml) of the reserved pasta water. Use kitchen tongs to toss and combine.
- To serve: garnish the dish with black pepper, freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper. Then portion into bowls and provide forks and spoons.
- Note 1 Olive oil: we do need to use actual oil (not spray oil) for this recipe. As it forms the base of the pasta sauce with the burst cherry tomato juices and pasta water merged into it.
- Note 2 - Garlic: fresh garlic cloves which you thinly slice are recommended. These get fried off in the initial stages of the cook time and add to the taste and texture of the dish.
- Note 3 Cherry tomatoes: try and get a combination of mixed colours of tomatoes such as red, orange, green and maroon as they add diverse pops of colour to the dish.
- Note 4 - Pasta: you can use your favorite pasta for the recipe. Spaghetti, fettuccine and linguine are all good options. Simply read and follow the package directions to cook it in a pot of boiling salted water till al dente (a little bit chewy).
- Note 5 - Reserved pasta water: we need to use 1 cup (250 ml) of the pasta water that we cooked the spaghetti in for the sauce. Moments before the pasta is ready scoop out around 2 cups using a heatproof jug. Then when ready measure and add 1 cup to the garlic and tomato mixture with the hot pasta. Eagle eyed readers 🥰: in the photo in the post where I am showing you this, I am using a ½ cup measuring cup but I poured it in 2 times. (In case you are thinking it looks a little smaller than 1 cup 😉👌. I am not trying to confuse you 😘.
Recipe published July 2020, updated October 2023 with new photos and a rewrite to offer more tasty tips to you 🥰👌.