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A macro close-up shot of burst tomato pasta in an orange bowl.

Quick & Easy Burst Tomato Pasta (8 Simple Ingredients)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Pasta Recipes, Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This quick & simple Burst Tomato Pasta is a celebration of summer tomatoes! It’s a low-fuss dinner that comes together in 25 minutes or less – perfect to make whenever your garden or CSA basket is overflowing with tomatoes.

The magic of this recipe comes from the quick-cooking burst cherry tomato sauce, which is so easy to prepare. You add the tomatoes to a pan with good olive oil, a few sprigs of basil, & a whole lotta garlic, & as it all heats together on the stovetop, the tomatoes burst open & release their sweet juices into the infused olive oil. The result is a light & aromatic sauce that’s something of a halfway point between a marinated tomato sauce & a slowly simmered marinara. It’s perfectly suited for summer & the stove does all the work!

From there, just toss in your pasta of choice & serve with lots of fresh basil & shaved parmesan. On its own, this bursting cherry tomato pasta a great light, meatless dinner, but feel free to pair it with chicken cutlets or meatballs if you’d like to bulk it up a bit – check out the blog post, above, for some suggestions to get you started!


  • 12 ounces fusilli col buco or long pasta of choice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 32 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 2 whole sprigs + ½ cup fresh basil leaves (packed & finely sliced), divided
  • optional: up to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced (approx. 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season


  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously season the water with salt. Add the fusilli col buco (or pasta of choice) & cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, to al dente. (Al dente cooking time is typically noted on package directions.) Once the pasta reaches al dente, carefully dip a liquid measuring cup into the pot, reserving about 1 cup of starchy pasta water, & set aside. Drain the pasta – but do not rinse – & set aside. (Learn more! How to Cook Pasta Perfectly Every Single Time!)An overhead shot of cooked fusilli pasta in a Dutch oven sitting atop an off-white surface.
  2. Prepare the burst tomatoes: Meanwhile, as the water boils & pasta cooks, prepare the burst tomato sauce. To a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, tomatoes, sliced garlic, & 2 sprigs of whole basil. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ground black pepper, & crushed red pepper flakes as desired. Stir to combine well, coating in the olive oil. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften. Once softened, use the back of a wooden spoon to gently press the tomatoes against the surface of the pan, helping them to burst open. Stirring often, continue to cook 3-5 minutes longer or until the burst tomato sauce is as reduced as you like. Fish out the spent basil sprigs & discard. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="45803,45791"]
  3. Finish the burst tomato pasta: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, along with the sliced basil & lemon juice. Toss to combine well – the burst tomato sauce should evenly coat the pasta. Adjust as desired – add in some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs to loosen up a little; increase to medium heat or medium-high heat if sauce needs to reduce & tighten up a bit. Cook 1-2 minutes longer, allowing the pasta to meld with the burst tomato sauce. Remove from the heat & toss in the shaved parmesan.An overhead shot of finished burst tomato pasta with a wooden spoon in a skillet atop an off-white surface.
  4. Serve: Portion the burst tomato pasta into individual bowls, topping with additional shaved parmesan or chopped fresh herbs as desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!An overhead shot of a large white platter full of burst tomato pasta. The platter sits upon a burnt orange cloth atop an off-white surface.


  • Recipe variations: This burst tomato pasta recipe is naturally meatless. To ensure it’s vegetarian, be sure to use your favorite rennet-free parmesan. To take it a step further & make it vegan, opt for your favorite non-dairy parmesan.
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover burst tomato pasta will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding an extra splash of water or cooking stock to loosen up the brown butter sauce as needed, until warmed through.