Fresh Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce
When tomatoes are in season, you can bet I will be making this Fresh Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce regularly. It’s one of those recipes that will always taste great, even if you have to fudge on the amounts a bit or you use a different kind of pasta or herb. It’s fresh, so easy, and tastes refreshingly light on a hot summer night.
One thing I love about this pasta sauce is that you can use any type of tomato you have, whether you have small cherry or grape tomatoes, or large heirloom tomatoes. Feel free to mix and match the varieties you use too. Any type of tomato will work and taste great as long as it’s super fresh. The tomatoes really make the sauce, so this is not a recipe I make in the dead of winter.
One word of caution if you use cherry tomatoes and leave some of them whole”¦once the tomatoes have cooked the initial 5 minutes, they will burst when you mash them. It can get a little messy, but I do like the finished look where some of the tomatoes are smashed and some are whole, so I tend to put up with the mess. If you don’t want to deal with that, make sure to cut all cherry or grape tomatoes in half if that’s the tomato variety you choose to use.
As for the herbs, I will use any fresh herb I have on hand. My favorite combination is basil and oregano, but if you have rosemary, thyme, or parsley, they work great too. Rosemary and thyme pinch hit well for the oregano, and the parsley works well in place of the basil.
I don’t typically skip the traditional pasta here. You can use any shape of pasta you like, and a good quality gluten-free pasta will work fine with this sauce. If you would rather use a vegetable based “noodle” (such as zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash), I’ve given a tip below the recipe for how to handle the sauce.
Try this super flavorful Fresh Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce next time you need to get dinner on the table quickly!
Just a few fresh ingredients are needed to make this Fresh Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce
- 6 ounces whole grain spaghetti or linguine
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano, thyme, or 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup snipped fresh basil or parsley
- ½ cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water for 1 minute less than the suggested cook time on the pasta package. After the pasta has cooked for a few minutes, use a ladle and remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set water aside. Drain pasta when the time is up; the pasta will not be completely cooked.
- Meanwhile, if using larger tomatoes (roma size or larger), core and coarsely chop the tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes, cut them in halves or quarters, and leave some whole if desired. In a large skillet heat olive oil and sliced garlic over medium heat for 30 to 60 seconds or until garlic is sizzling and just starting to turn brown on the edges.
- Add tomatoes; toss to combine. Cover; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a potato masher, carefully mash the tomatoes as much or as little as desired. Stir in oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Add the drained pasta and ¾ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes or until pasta is just tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. The pasta should look saucy; if needed, add the rest of the reserved pasta cooking water so it doesn’t get too dry.
- Add the wine; cook and stir 1 minute more. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it stands so it’s okay if it’s quite saucy at this point. Stir in the fresh basil. Divide pasta mixture among serving plates. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- If the pasta looks too dry at the end, add additional water, ¼ cup at a time; cook and stir for 30 to 60 seconds to coat everything. If the pasta is more saucy than you like at the end, continue to cook the pasta, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes more or until pasta is the consistency you like (keep in mind the pasta will continue to absorb liquid even after it’s removed from the heat).
- To serve sauce over cooked vegetable “noodles” (such as zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash), make the sauce as directed, but skip steps 1 and 4. Add the wine after mashing the tomatoes slightly in step 3. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the basil. Serve over your vegetable noodles or spaghetti squash; sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- about 4 ½ cups (4 servings)
- 290 cals, 10 g pro, 37 g carb, 11 g fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 3 g sat fat, 6 g fiber, 452 mg sodium