This creamy cherry tomato pasta is coated in a delicious sauce made with naturally sweet and juicy tomatoes cooked with olive oil, garlic, and basil.

The recipe cannot be simpler, and the sauce is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This a favorite tasty meal for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.

Cherry tomato pasta with fork

Cherry tomato pasta is a traditional Italian recipe from Naples.

Its original name is “pasta allo scarpariello” because it was popular among the shoemakers (“scarpari” means shoemakers in Neapolitan) that lived in the Spanish quarters of the city.

The recipe showcases the creativity and simplicity of Italian food. The ingredients cannot be simpler: pasta, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, and parmesan cheese.

When combined, they create the perfect pasta dish: a chewy “al dente” bite, a fresh and creamy sauce, a savory tang, an ideal balance of sweet and acidic from the tomatoes, and the pleasant aromas of garlic and fresh basil.

We are sure you will love this dish for its simplicity, ease of making, and irresistible flavors of Mediterranean cuisine.

Cherry tomato pasta with basil

Ingredients & Substitutions

cherry tomato pasta ingredients

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Pasta

We like to make cherry tomato pasta with spaghetti – here, we used squared spaghetti, which is slightly bigger than regular spaghetti, and have an incredible bite.

Other pasta shapes that work well are linguine, bucatini, bavette, paccheri, and rigatoni.

What’s most important here is that you use Italian pasta made with 100% durum wheat flour and cook it al dente, with a bite.

If you can find “bronze-cut” pasta, it’s even better because its rugged surface makes it easier for the sauce to stick.

For gluten-free, substitute gluten-free pasta for durum wheat pasta.

Tomatoes

We recommend cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes.

We combined small cherry tomatoes with golden or yellow plum tomatoes to add extra sweetness.

Substitute canned or bottled cherry tomatoes for fresh ones.

Olive oil

We recommend extra virgin olive oil to make the sauce.

Garlic

Fresh garlic is a must here.

Salt and Pepper

We recommend sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Red pepper flakes

Optional to add a touch of heat to the dish.

Fresh basil

Fresh basil is lovely with the cherry tomato pasta sauce, and we recommend not substituting other fresh herbs.

Parmesan cheese

Grated parmesan cheese adds a savory taste and a creamy texture.

Substitute pecorino romano or ricotta salata for parmesan.

For vegans, you can use a vegan parmesan alternative or another vegan cheese suitable for pasta.

cherry tomato pasta in a bowl

How to make cherry tomato pasta

Start by boiling a large pot of water and cutting the cherry tomatoes in half.

When the water is boiling, season it with salt and add the pasta.

Boil the pasta as per package instructions minus 3 minutes.

spaghetti in a white pot

In a large skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and season them with salt, black pepper, pressed or grated garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Cherry tomatoes in a skillet

Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready. Stir occasionally.

Note: the medium-high heat allows the tomatoes to burst and release their juices in a short cooking time.

Cooked cherry tomatoes in a skillet

Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.

Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and fresh basil leaves, and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce on medium heat while stirring for a couple of minutes.

The pasta should be al dente, with a bite. Add more pasta water if necessary.

Cherry tomato pasta with wooden fork

Turn the heat off, add the grated parmesan cheese, and stir until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy.

Cherry tomato pasta with parmesan cheese

Serve the pasta immediately in a bowl, topping it with the cherry tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Cherry tomato pasta with fork

Variations

Pasta Pomodoro

tomato basil pasta or spaghetti al pomodoro with shaved parmesan

Pasta pomodoro is a similar recipe to cherry tomato pasta, but it uses whole canned peeled tomatoes instead of fresh cherry tomatoes.

The recipe is as easy and delicious, and it’s a beautiful alternative if you don’t have cherry tomatoes.

Check out our pasta pomodoro recipe.

Serving suggestions

With a side salad or sautéed veggies, such as:

  • Sautéed eggplant (basil, eggplant, tomato, garlic, olive oil, etc.)
  • Chickpea salad (cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, black olives, corn, cucumber, etc.)
  • Easy house salad (carrot, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, etc.)
  • Sautèed zucchini (red onion, zucchini, olive oil, salt, pepper, etc.)
  • Avocado salad (cherry tomato, parsley, avocado, red onion, bell pepper, etc.)

Tips

Salt the pasta water.

Underseasoning pasta water is the most common mistake people make when cooking pasta.

You’ll need a large pot of salted water as follows:

  • 8 ounces of pasta (230 grams): cook pasta in 2 quarts of boiling water (8 cups or 2 Liters) with 1 tablespoon of salt (15 grams). Serves 2 – 3 people.
  • 12 ounces of pasta (340 grams): cook pasta in 3 quarts of boiling water (12 cups or 3 Liters) with 1 ½ tablespoons of salt (21 grams). Serves 4 people.
  • 1 pound of pasta (450 grams): cook pasta in 1 gallon of boiling water (16 cups or 4 Liters) with 2 tablespoons of salt (30 grams). Serves 5-6 people.

Undercook the pasta

Cook the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes less than instructed on the package so that you can finish cooking it in the pan with the sauce. This will make for a creamier dish with a chewy bite.

Turn the heat off, then add cheese.

Adding the cheese with the heat off allows it to melt slowly and become creamy without the risk of separating.

Storage

Make ahead: this is not a good recipe to make ahead as the pasta will overcook and the sauce will dry. Make it and eat it.

Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours.

Reheat: warm it on a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds.

Freezer: pasta with cherry tomatoes is not suitable for freezing.

More easy pasta recipes

Get more easy pasta inspiration with these quick red pasta dishes:

More cherry tomato recipes

Love cooking with cherry tomatoes? Find more tasty recipes ideas here:

For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.

Cherry tomato pasta with fresh basil

Cherry Tomato Pasta

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 6 votes
This creamy cherry tomato pasta is coated in a delicious sauce made with naturally sweet and juicy tomatoes cooked with olive oil, garlic, and basil.
This recipe cannot be simpler, and the sauce is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This a favorite tasty meal for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces spaghetti + 3 quarts of water (12 cups or 3 Liters) and 1 ½ tablespoons of salt (21 grams)
  • pounds cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic pressed or grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 15 fresh basil leaves + more for garnishing
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese or non-dairy cheese, grated. Add more or less to taste.

Instructions 

  • Start by boiling a large pot of water and cutting 1½ pounds cherry tomatoes in half.
    When the water is boiling, add the salt and 12 ounces spaghetti.
    Boil pasta as per package instructions minus 3 minutes.
    spaghetti in a white pot
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and season them with 1 teaspoon salt, 2 twists black pepper, 1 clove garlic(grated), and ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
    Cherry tomatoes in a skillet
  • Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready. Stir occasionally.
    Cooked cherry tomatoes in a skillet
  • Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
    Add about ½ cup of pasta water and 15 fresh basil leaves, and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce on medium heat while stirring for a couple of minutes.
    The pasta should be al dente, with a bite. Add more pasta water if necessary.
    Cherry tomato pasta with wooden fork
  • Turn the heat off, add about ½ cup parmesan cheese, and stir until the cheese melts.
    Cherry tomato pasta with parmesan cheese
  • Serve immediately in a bowl, topping it with the cherry tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
    Cherry tomato pasta with basil

Video

Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta in 20 minutes

Notes

Nutritional information is an estimate for 1 serving of cherry tomato pasta out of 4 servings.
STORAGE
Make ahead: This is not a good recipe to make ahead as the pasta will overcook and the sauce will dry. Make it and eat it.
Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours.
Reheat: Warm it on a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds.
Freezer: Pasta with cherry tomatoes is not suitable for freezing.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Potassium: 602mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1176IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 40mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 25µg, Calcium: 156mg, Folate: 41µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 68mg, Zinc: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. Ciao Chef,
    Sono due giorni di seguito che me la faccio. BUONISSIMA!
    Question: can you tell us which pans you use? Specifically the white ones that appear in most of your videos.
    Grazie mille!

    1. Ciao Sara,

      Thank you so much for the message! We are happy you like the recipe.
      We use Amazon Basics Cast Iron pans. You can find them on the Italian or American Amazon.
      Ti lascio il link per amazon it.