Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2-1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 4 pints)
  • 2 large sprigs basil, plus 1 cup leaves, torn if large
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 ounces casarecce or other medium-size pasta
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)


  1. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy pot over low. Add garlic and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add tomatoes, basil sprigs, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring to coat, until some of the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices, about 4 minutes. Smash some of the tomatoes with the spoon to help release their liquid, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a chunky, thickened sauce forms (about half of the tomatoes should still be intact), 10-12 minutes. Taste and add sugar if sauce is too tart and add more salt if needed. Pluck out and discard basil sprigs.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
  4. Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce, and cook, stirringm until coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 1 ounce Parmesan.
  5. Divide pasta among bowls; drizzle with oil. Top with more Parmesan and 1 cup basil leaves.
  6. Serve with chicken tenders for a more hearty meal.


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