Burst Tomato Pasta

4.79 from 23 votes

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If you want an easy fresh tomato recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes with less than 10 ingredients, this burst tomato pasta is for you. When you sauté a couple pints of cherry tomatoes with olive oil and garlic, they become very juicy. Some wrinkle and others break apart all while boosting that wonderful tomato flavor. Then you finish the pasta with Parmesan and fresh herbs.

You should also try this 5-ingredient cherry tomato sauce recipe too.

Cherry tomato pasta on a plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This tomato pasta recipe is quick and easy. By making the most of seasonal ingredients like tomatoes, you don’t have to do much to enhance them because they’re already pretty perfect as is. Save this recipe for a weeknight dinner.

The prep time is minimal. The only work on your prep to-do list is to slice the garlic, chop the herbs and grate the Parmesan. You don’t have to cut the tomatoes because they cook down on their own.

You can make this simple vegetarian pasta with less than 10 ingredients. That’s it. Again, this is the recipe you need for tomato season. To those of you who garden, this will give you another reason to plan to have at least one cherry tomato plant.

You can cook tomatoes ahead of time. Reheat them on the stove, cook the pasta and stir everything together.

The cooked cherry tomatoes are freezable. Pretty much all tomato-based pasta sauce is freezer-friendly. This is so helpful for meal planning.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including spaghetti, tomatoes, garlic, spices, olive oil, parmesan and fresh herbs.

This is what you need to make this tomato pasta:

  • Tomatoes: Small tomatoes are best for this recipe, which is why I like cherry tomatoes. They can be different colors and shapes. It doesn’t matter as long as they are tiny compared to bigger varieties. You can also use grape tomatoes.
  • Spaghetti: I always keep spaghetti in my pantry. It is an all-purpose noodle that’s ready in 10 minutes. You just can’t go wrong with it. You can substitute with another long pasta like fettuccine, bucatini or tagliatelle.
  • Garlic: We are big on garlic at our house, so I slice 3 garlic cloves for this recipe. You can see the slices throughout the spaghetti. 
  • Parmesan: I stir shaved Parmesan cheese into the pasta when the sauce has finished cooking.
  • Olive oil: Make sure to use extra virgin olive oil for the best taste.
  • Red pepper flakes: It’s impossible for me to make a tomato dish and not include red pepper flakes for that touch of heat.
  • Salt & pepper: Such a simple recipe with so few ingredients needs salt and pepper to bring out the overall flavors.
  • Fresh herbs: Once I have the pasta divided onto plates or into bowls to serve, I sprinkle on chopped herbs like fresh basil, parsley or chives—really whatever I have in my kitchen.

How To Make Burst Tomato Pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Follow the recommended cook time on the package instructions. Then drain it in a strainer, and toss the noodles in a splash of olive oil in a bowl, so they don’t stick together.

1. Start sautéing the tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a big skillet over medium heat and carefully add the tomatoes. As they cook, stir them around, so they are all getting heat. After a few minutes, the skins on some will start to split. To give the tomatoes a nudge to burst, you can gently push them down with the back of a wooden spoon as necessary. You can also use a potato masher to do this.

2. Add the sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Keep cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. By now the tomatoes should have released their juices and be turning kind of saucy.

Tomatoes sauteing in a skillet. Tomatoes bursting with garlic and spices stirred in.

3. Fold the cooked pasta into the tomatoes. Do this carefully and slowly. The tomatoes will be hot, and you want to make sure the pasta is well coated.

4. Stir in the shaved parmesan cheese. Divide the pasta into bowls or onto plates and top with fresh herbs.

Spaghetti and parmesan folded into spaghetti.

What To Serve With Cherry Tomato Pasta

You can serve this tomato pasta with an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, a classic house salad or an Italian chopped salad. For a vegetable side dish, try parmesan roasted zucchini. Also eat it with bread with a good crust that you can dip into the tomato sauce. 

Leftovers, Storage & Make-Ahead Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave or in a skillet over low to medium heat on the stove. If you are planning to have leftovers, it’s best to only cook the amount of pasta you are going to eat at single meal. Spoon out the sauce you are going to save.

The tomato sauce (without the pasta) can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month. Let it cool to room temperature before storing it. To make it easier to thaw, portion out the cooked tomatoes before you freeze them, so you don’t have to thaw them all at once.

To thaw frozen tomatoes, let them sit out at room temperature to melt and soften a bit. Then warm them in a pan over low to medium heat, stirring frequently.

Burst cherry tomato pasta in a skillet.

Recipe Tips

  • Use ripe tomatoes. Simple recipes with less than 10 ingredients only turn out as good as the ingredients you start with, so it’s important to have quality tomatoes.
  • You can overlap the cooking of the pasta and the tomatoes. The timing of the pasta is more sensitive. You can always pull the tomatoes off the burner if they are ready before the spaghetti.I like to use tongs to transfer the pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta. Double check the recommended cook time on the package. The pasta should be al dente and have some bite to it.
  • The recipe calls for shaved Parmesan. You can use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to cut those thin slices.It’s also ok to grate the cheese.
  • Taste the pasta before you serve it. Then you can add more salt or pepper as needed. It’s a great idea to even taste the tomatoes before you add the spaghetti and see if you want to adjust the seasonings then. Once you plate the pasta, you can also add a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe FAQs

Can you use grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes?

Yes. I find that grape tomatoes have slightly thicker skins and aren’t as juicy, so you may need to squash down more of them with a spoon to encourage them to burst.

What can you do with a surplus of cherry tomatoes?

I love slow-roasted cherry tomatoes. When I have less time, I do my easy 30-minute roasted tomatoes. You can stash these tomatoes in the fridge or freeze them, so they last a bit longer.

Is it ok to add balsamic vinegar?

Yes. When you stir in the garlic and seasonings, you can also add 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. This will increase the acidity and sharpness in the tomatoes.

Can you add a protein?

Yes. Shrimp is always great with tomatoes and pasta.

Do you need to add a pinch of sugar to the tomatoes?

I never add sugar when I simmer tomato sauce. Ripe tomatoes should be sweet enough that this is not necessary.

More Cherry Tomato Pasta Recipes

Cherry Tomato Eggplant Pasta
Tomato Corn Orecchiette
Sheet Pan Cherry Tomato Gnocchi
30-Minute Zucchini Tomato Orzo
Roasted Garlic Sheet Pan Gnocchi
Zucchini Noodles and Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted Tomato Zucchini Squash Pasta Salad
One Pan Orecchiette
Roasted Tomato Garlic Pasta Salad

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Burst Tomato Pasta

4.79 from 23 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
With a couple pints of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil & Parmesan, you can make this easy burst cherry tomato pasta for a quick weeknight dinner.


  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for pasta
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan
  • Chopped basil, parsley or chives


  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and toss with a splash of olive oil in a bowl to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and stir them around frequently. After 3-4 minutes, the skin of some of the tomatoes will start to split. Use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to carefully press them down, helping them burst.
  • Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the skillet, and continue cooking for a few more minutes until the tomatoes turn a bit saucy but are still very chunky.
  • Stir in the pasta coating it in the tomatoes.
  • Fold in the Parmesan cheese.
  • Divide into serving plates or bowls and top with chopped fresh herbs.


You can also use grape tomatoes. Since their skins are slightly thicker and they are less juicy than cherry tomatoes, you may need to press them down more to encourage them to burst and split.
To make the recipe vegan, leave out the Parmesan or use a plant-based cheese as a substitute.
You can cook the pasta and the tomatoes at the same time. Since you want to make sure the pasta is al dente, you can take the tomatoes off the heat if they are ready before the spaghetti. Use tongs to move the pasta directly from the pot to the skillet with the cooked tomatoes.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Warm them in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Make sure to let them cool to room temperature.
If you are planning to have leftovers, it’s best to only cook the pasta you are going to eat in a single meal. Spoon out some of cooked tomatoes before you stir in the pasta.
The burst tomatoes (without the pasta) can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. To thaw, let them sit out at room temperature to partially melt and soften. Then warm them over low to medium heat on the stove, stirring frequently.


Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1257IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hey, I need you to understand that this is one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. Like, I’m kinda obsessed with it. It was gone like, less than 3 minutes after I started eating. I did used fresh pasta instead of dried spaghetti, tho cuz I really was craving fresh pasta but I followed the rest of the recipe to a T. Thank you so much for sharing this !!!

  2. 5 stars
    This was incredible. I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes and I’m so glad I stumbled on this recipe! I’ll be making this again soon.

  3. 5 stars
    I had my doubts that so few ingredients would result in a great dish; however, I followed the recipe exactly and this was so so good … restaurant quality. So much flavor!!

  4. 5 stars
    This is a fabulous, delicious, easy to make recipe! I wish I would have had it when the kids were home and playing sports. In those days, I always had to get a meal on the table in a hurry. Now though, I can make it and take my time eating, enjoying every bite!

  5. 5 stars
    I added some chopped basil (plenty growing in the backyard) and a small amount of cubed mozzarella; added extra sliced garlic. Very flavorful and hearty (and easy). Family was very complimentary!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so good! I usually freestyle my dishes by following the skeleton of an online recipe and tweak it to my taste. This is one recipe I followed exactly and it turned out delicious.