How to Transform Excess Cherry Tomatoes into an Easy and Delicious Pasta Sauce

Published on 09/24/2013 by
fresh tomatoes and herbs in basket


Are you overloaded with cherry tomatoes?

Perhaps you got a bit carried away at the local farmers’ market or your late summer garden has “gone wild”?

Whatever the cause, this delicious 5-step recipe for pasta with roasted cherry tomato sauce is a great solution. The roasting creates a wonderfully rich sauce full of fresh tomato flavor without hours of cooking.

Quick to make, simple to use and easy to freeze, it will take care of all those rogue tomatoes in no time. Like many pasta recipes, it requires just a few key ingredients so use the best quality possible.


1 pound of pasta (serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch)
4-5 dozen cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
FRESH ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot or small onion, minced
A handful of FRESH Italian basil. Reserve a few sprigs for garnish.
A handful of FRESH parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Makes about 4 cups of sauce.

Step 1.
Gather fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes, 5-6 dozen or enough to fill a cookie sheet. Discard any unripe, excessively overripe or blemished ones. Remove the stems and wash them well in cold water. Set on a towel to dry completely. (avoid using moist tomatoes in this recipe as they will steam rather than roast.)

Step 2.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the dry tomatoes out in a SINGLE layer on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roll them around until they are evenly coated. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the skins are wrinkly and the tops are just beginning to brown (watch them carefully at the end). They will be a rich, golden orange color and sitting in a lovely, fragrant juice. Remove them from the oven and let cool briefly.

Step 3.
While the tomatoes are roasting, put a large pot of water on to boil (4 quarts of water per pound of pasta). In a small saucepan (cold), drizzle the remaining olive oil and add the garlic. Sauté on medium heat a minute or two until fragrant. Add the minced onions and sauté a couple minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Don’t let the garlic brown or burn or it will become bitter. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside, off the heat.

Step 4.
When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt and drop in the pasta. Cook according to package directions or until “al dente”, cooked but still firm. Reserve a ½ cup of the starchy pasta water just before draining.

Step 5.
While the pasta is cooking, put the tomatoes, with all their juice, in a food processor or blender. Add the onion and garlic mixture and the fresh herbs. Pulse gently until the sauce is the texture you like. Less for chunky, more for super smooth and creamy. Drain the pasta in a colander and put it back in the hot pot, off the heat. Add some of the sauce and toss gently until the strands are well coated. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water and a bit more sauce to get a nice, smooth, creamy consistency. Don’t overload your pasta with too much sauce! Plate and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil. Serve immediately.

Save any extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze in a plastic freezer bag for up to 6 months. To reheat, set the frozen bag in a bowl of warm water to thaw. Add to fresh, hot pasta and enjoy!



Christine Coughlan is the author, designer and publisher of, your one-stop resource for pasta recipes, ideas, how-to and more! You'll find simple step-by-step recipes with beautiful images, helpful how-to videos, drool-worthy culinary tours, articles, timely seasonal inspiration and much more. Quick and easy one-dish dinner ideas, classic pasta and sauce combinations, rich and satisfying lasagnas, even an in depth video series on how to make fresh pasta by hand that will keep you coming back for more. To keep things flowing smoothly in your kitchen, look for her handy tips and timing techniques. From gathering your ingredients to garnishing your plate, you'll look like a seasoned pro. To check out more great pasta recipes, visit today!

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