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Weeknight Cherry Tomato Sauce

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Some nights, you just need a flavorful, but fast pasta sauce. This is one of them! This goes well with shaped pasta like cavatelli, orecchiette, or fusilli. 

Servings: 4 servings

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 large sprigs basil, plus reserve 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon course ground black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)


  1. Heat ½ cup extra-virgin oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the smashed garlic. Move the garlic around to ensure it cooks on all sides and doesn’t brown or burn. It should often and become fragrant in about 2 minutes.
  2. Raise the heat to medium and add all of the remaining ingredients except the sugar and reserved cup of basil leave: 4 pints of tomatoes, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 3 large basil sprigs, 1½ tsp. Kosher salt, and ½ tsp. course ground pepper. Stir to incorporate everything and to coat the tomatoes with oil. 
  3. Allow to cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes begin to split their skin, about 4-5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to burst about half of the tomatoes, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low. The sauce will come together into a chunky thickened sauce in about 10-12 minutes. You’ll still have some whole tomatoes along and some will be totally broken down. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding sugar if sauce seems too tart. Remove and discard basil sprigs.
  5. While the sauce is coming together, you can cook your pasta. When it is done, drain it, then add it back to your sauce to coat, then serve. Sprinkle the reserved cup of basil leaves over each dish, and freshly grated parmesan to taste. Give each serving a small drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

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