Secret’s Out—I Serve This 5-Ingredient Tomato Pasta for Every Summer Dinner Party

I live for a summer pasta recipe. It’s equal parts casual and romanticize-your-life vibes. The idea of throwing together simple ingredients and watching them alchemize into a delicious dish is gratifying—and something about it just screams summer. And with all things Italian ease and intrigue defining these warmer-weather months, I developed a burst tomato pasta recipe that rises to the occasion.

At first glance, this dish might seem basic to the extent of boring—but trust me, it’s anything but. After one bite, you’ll be shouting from the rooftops about its unassuming deliciousness and just how pretty it looks piled onto your plate.

The secret? Incorporating three kinds of tomatoes into the sauce. While my favorite jar of marinara has its time and place, by leaning on three different tomatoes, we’re building upon flavors and textures that meld into the most luxurious and delicious sauce I’ve ever had. Get ready, your new go-to summer dinner is here.

sun dried tomato pasta

Burst Tomato Pasta Ingredients

Pasta. Use whatever shape you like, but for this recipe, I break out the spaghetti or bucatini. A noodle with lots of texture is also nice for helping the sauce cling to the pasta.

Sun-dried tomatoes. The low-key workhorse of any kitchen, sun-dried tomatoes are flavor-forward, briny bites of deliciousness. Plus, using the oil from the jar is a bonus bite of flavor.

Tomato paste. Another must-have ingredient to keep on hand, letting the tomato paste caramelize in the pan adds an element of umami. (This recipe’s je ne sais quoi factor.)

Fresh cherry tomatoes. It is summer after all. Use the best you can find and let them burst into sweet bites that balance the other ingredients’ savory flavor.

Shallots. Another bite of caramelized sweetness, I prefer shallots over onions, but use what you have on hand.

Garlic. Name a pasta that’s complete without it. I’m waiting.

Basil. For a fresh flavor, the herbaceous note is a must when paired with tomatoes.

the best summer pasta

Tips for Maximizing Flavor

While this is a very simple recipe, there are small steps you can take to lean in and create as much flavor as you can.

Caramelize the shallot and tomato paste. This is a must-do that takes a few minutes but is well worth the time. Cooking the shallots down brings out a lovely sweetness, and caramelizing the tomato paste until it goes from bright red to more of a brick-red color softens its acidity. Doing this step together also helps mellow out these ingredients’ flavors.

Burst the fresh cherry tomatoes. I like to add the cherry tomatoes to the sauce right before the pasta finishes cooking and heating them through until they begin to burst. To retain texture in the sauce, I don’t mind keeping the tomatoes mostly whole. However, to balance out the flavor, I burst and crush a few of them. This releases some of their sweet flavor and creates a saucy texture.

Finish the sauce with sun-dried tomato oil or butter. After your sauce comes together, I add just a bit more oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes or a pat of butter to help make it extra silky and smooth. Plus, it adds a warm and toasty flavor.

summer tomato pasta

How to Serve Your Burst Tomato Pasta

A simple tomato pasta is never complete without a dusting of parmesan and a side of crusty bread. Sprinkle on a bunch of fresh basil and some red pepper flakes for added flavor and color. Because of its simplicity and ease—not to mention its standout presentation—this recipe is perfect for summer entertaining. To round out the meal, consider these sides and salads to serve alongside your dish.

The Perfect Green Salad. Fresh and crunchy with a bright dressing, this salad is easy to toss together—and I’ve never met a guest who didn’t ask (beg) me for the recipe.

Sesame Salad. If you’re looking for a Caesar-esque salad, this creamy sesame salad checks all the boxes.

Grilled Romaine Salad. For summer al fresco dining, grilled romaine is a must.

the best tomato pasta
easy sun dried tomato pasta


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An easy, tomato-packed pasta recipe for summer.

  • 2 servings pasta of choice
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 56 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • To serve: basil, parmesan, red chili flakes

  1. In a large stovetop pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. In a large stovetop pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato oil. Add the shallots, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes until the tomato paste turns brick red and the shallots are caramelized. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they just begin to burst.
  3. Add a ladle of pasta water to the tomatoes and cook until the sauce has thickened. Finish the sauce with a bit of sun-dried tomato oil or a pat of butter.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook until the noodles are coated.
  5. Serve warm with desired toppings. Enjoy!

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