Marinated Tomato Pasta with Fresh Summer Cherry Tomatoes

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With minimal cooking involved, this Marinated Tomato Pasta is the ULTIMATE summer dinner! Quickly marinate fresh cherry tomatoes in olive oil with fragrant aromatics like shallots, garlic, & loads of fresh basil. From there, simply toss the marinated tomatoes into warm pasta, creating a no-cook fresh tomato sauce that highlights juicy & sweet summer tomatoes at the peak of their season. A low-effort meal with light & bold flavor. This quick & easy fresh tomato pasta is ready in 30 minutes or less, & it's perfect for hot & busy summer evenings!

Naturally meatless. Easily vegetarian, vegan, & dairy-free.

An overhead shot of finished marinated tomato pasta served in a large white ceramic serving bowl with two wooden serving spoons inside. A small wooden pinch bowl filled with shaved parmesan, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, a small ceramic plate of grilled bread, and a blue linen napkin surround the bowl at center.

The Perfect Summer Dinner When It’s Too Hot to Cook: Quick & Easy Marinated Tomato Pasta

You know those summer evenings when it’s too hot to cook or eat or do anything except lay on your couch in the AC? 🙋🏻‍♀️ This marinated tomato pasta is the perfect dinner for those moments. It’s SO good you’ll want to make it every other night, too!

The beauty of this pasta is the fact that there’s next to no cooking involved. Instead, it leans on the built-in flavor of juicy in-season tomatoes. Off-the-vine summer tomatoes are practically magic all on their own, but when you pair them with basil, finely sliced shallots, & the best Italian EVOO, it creates an easy, no-cook fresh tomato pasta “sauce” that explodes with light & bright summertime flavor. It’s seriously next-level! ✨

Such a light & delicate fresh tomato sauce begs for an equally delicate pasta. I’m, of course, the biggest fan of DeLallo’s Capellini Nests. This angel hair pasta is made in Northern Italy using high-quality durum semolina, known for its superior flavor & texture. Best of all, they cook to the perfect al dente super quickly, keeping time at the stove to an absolute minimum. Simply toss the marinated tomatoes with warm angel hair, relish in a steam bath of fragrant summer flavor, & dinner’s ready! It’s the PERFECT dinner & I am 100% completely smitten with it. 😋🥰

Fresh Tomato Pasta Recipe Highlights

You’ll love this marinated tomato pasta because…

  • MINIMAL COOKING. No one wants to stand over the stovetop when it’s hot out! This pasta relies on quick-cooking capellini pasta & the light, fresh sauce created by marinating in-season tomatoes with EVOO. It’s the ideal low-effort meal for warm summer evenings.
  • PEAK SUMMER FLAVOR. Fresh tomato pasta is the best way to use sweet & juicy tomatoes & backyard herbs like fresh basil. Simple yet packed with seasonal flavor.
  • ZERO FUSS. Seriously can’t describe how EASY marinated tomato pasta is! Barely any prep, minimal cooking required, & it’s ready in less than 30 minutes – totally low-key!

So little to do, so much to love! 🥰 ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make this Marinated Tomato Pasta with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients for Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

This marinated tomato pasta is a seasonal showcase! It’s all about using simple, high-quality ingredients & letting their flavors shine. You need less than 10 ingredients to get started…

  • Capellini – Delicate sauces, like the marinated tomato sauce in this recipe, pair best with delicate pasta & I’m absolutely obsessed with DeLallo Capellini Nest Pasta. Angel hair & marinated tomatoes are a match made in heaven & I love how these nests are perfectly portioned, making dinner prep even easier. If you don’t love angel hair, thin spaghetti, fusilli, or orecchiette all also work well here. For a gluten-free meal, use gluten-free spaghetti.
  • Cherry tomatoes – I like to make marinated tomatoes using cherry tomatoes since they’re so juicy. Any other in-season tomato varieties work beautifully here, though, so use whatever you already have on hand.
  • Aromatics – Simple flavor bombs like shallot, garlic, fresh basil, & crushed red pepper flakes infuse the marinated tomatoes with a ton of flavor.
  • Lemon – A bit of bright lemon juice tastes like summertime, but it also magically makes the tomatoes taste even more tomato-ey. ✨
  • EVOODeLallo is always my go-to! It’s always made with 100% Italian olives & it’s always extra virgin.
  • Shaved parmesan – The perfect finishing touch!
Ingredient Spotlight

Summer Tomatoes

I use cherry tomatoes for this marinated tomato pasta recipe, but there are tons of varieties to pick from during the summer months. If you’re making pasta with fresh tomatoes in the summertime, then pretty much any tomato is going to be perfect – feel free to use your favorite in-season tomatoes!

The most important factor here is that the tomatoes are in-season & fresh. This recipe is super simple, so there’s nowhere to hide. Tomatoes at peak ripeness yield the best-tasting marinated tomato pasta. Select tomatoes from your local farmer’s market or, better yet, pick them right off the vine from your backyard garden. You can typically trust that most grocery store tomatoes are at their best this time of year, too. You really can’t go wrong!

Low-Effort Summer Goodness: How to Make Marinated Tomatoes Tossed with Pasta

This recipe is intentionally EASY. We’re talking 30 minutes, minimal prep, & next to no cooking – basically the maximum effort I have on a sweltering hot summer day! The most time-consuming component is letting the tomatoes marinate. Otherwise, all you have to do is boil a pot of water. You truly won’t believe how much flavor comes out of so little effort!

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

Start with the Perfect Marinated Tomatoes recipe:

These marinated tomatoes are like a quick & easy fresh tomato sauce with zero cooking required. It’s so simple but works so well because each component enhances the others. Over time their flavors meld together to create a fresh, light, & bold “sauce” with a sum greater than its parts.

How to make marinated tomatoes. ⇢ Mix sliced cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, & olive oil in a bowl with salt & pepper. Stir & let everything sit for at least 10-20 minutes, giving the flavors a little bit of time to meld together. Ideally, I love to let the marinated tomatoes sit for a few hours for maximum flavor. If you’re in a rush, though, no worries – 10 minutes at dinnertime also does the trick!

Meal Prep Tip!

Feel free to prep the marinated tomatoes up to 2 days in advance, storing them in your refrigerator until dinnertime. Be sure to pull the marinated tomatoes out of the fridge when you start boiling the water for pasta, giving them a little bit of time to come up to room temperature before tossing it all together.

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

Then, Simply Toss the Marinated Tomatoes with Pasta

Cook the pasta. While the tomatoes marinate, bring a pot of water to a boil & cook the pasta. Our How to Cook Pasta Perfectly guide is full of tips & tricks, but here are a few key things to remember:

  • Don’t forget to salt your pasta water! This is the only opportunity to season the pasta itself, which leads to an even more flavorful marinated tomato pasta dish.
  • Cook to al dente. Check the package instructions for timing on this. Capellini is very delicate & cooks fairly quickly (about 5 minutes!). You’ll know it’s al dente when the pasta is tender with a tiny bit of a bite.
  • Do not rinse your pasta! 🙅🏻‍♀️ Simply drain your al dente pasta & add it right into the bowl of marinated tomatoes.

Here’s where the magic happens. When you add the cooked angel hair to the marinated tomatoes, the heat from the pasta awakens the marinated tomatoes, almost partially cooking them. It creates an extra-juicy, warm, & flavorful “sauce” to coat the pasta. Toss it all together, add some shaved parmesan & you’re good to go!

Serving Marinated Cherry Tomato Pasta (Plus, Simple Subs & Add-Ins!)

It’s as simple as that! Once you’ve tossed the marinated cherry tomato pasta, it’s ready to eat. Feel free to add some more grated parmesan, chopped basil or parsley, or an extra sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes. Then pour yourself a cold drink, find a comfy seat in the shade, & enjoy your fabulous low-effort summer dinner.

Vegetarian & Vegan Modifications. This recipe is naturally meatless, though you can easily make it vegetarian or vegan. For vegetarian marinated tomato pasta, omit the parmesan or use a rennet-free version. Choose your favorite dairy-free parmesan to make it vegan.

I prefer a really light meal on a super hot summer evening, so this marinated tomato pasta is perfect as-is for me. You can easily make it a bit heartier by adding some protein or veggies if you’d like to. A few easy ideas to get you started…

  • Grilled lemon chicken – This simple grilled chicken recipe has a lemony & garlicky flavor that pairs naturally with fresh tomato pasta.
  • Grilled sausage – Sausage is my go-to source of protein in the summer because it’s easy to grill up & goes with pretty much anything! Slice the grilled sausage & toss into your bowl of marinated tomato pasta – easy!
  • Grilled veggies like charred bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, or zucchini are great either served on the side or mixed into the pasta with fresh tomatoes.

I can’t wait for you to try this Marinated Tomatoes Pasta with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes! It’s low-effort summer dinner magic, & I’m pretty sure you’re going to be just as obsessed as we are! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!

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An overhead shot of finished marinated tomato pasta served in a large white ceramic serving bowl with two wooden serving spoons inside. A small wooden pinch bowl filled with shaved parmesan, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, a small ceramic plate of grilled bread, and a blue linen napkin surround the bowl at center.

Marinated Tomato Pasta with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 14 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main Dishes, Pasta Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Crafted with hot summer evenings in mind, this Marinated Tomato Pasta is the ultimate warm weather dinner! It’s light with bold flavor & comes together in 30 minutes or less with next to no cooking involved. 

The magic comes from the juicy sweetness of in-season tomatoes. Simply marinate sliced cherry tomatoes in olive oil with aromatics like shallots, garlic, & basil, & the result is an insanely delicious no-cook fresh tomato “sauce” that begs to be tossed into pasta.

It’s best to pair delicate sauces with equally delicate pasta, so capellini (angel hair) is my pasta of choice here. As a bonus, it cooks to a perfect al dente really quickly, keeping time at the stove to an absolute minimum. Simply toss the marinated tomatoes with warm pasta, relish in a steam bath of fragrant summer flavor, & dinner’s ready!

This marinated tomato pasta has seriously bold flavor & makes for a great light dinner all on its own, but you can pair it with grilled protein or grilled veggies if you’d like to bulk it up a bit. Be sure to check out the blog post, above, for some suggestions to get you started. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8.8 ounces capellini pasta
  • 32 ounces cherry tomatoes or late summer tomatoes of choice, quartered or chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, very finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped or grated
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves & tender stems, very finely sliced (roughly 1.25 ounces)
  • up to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, as desired
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (23 tablespoons juice)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: crushed red chili flakes, thinly sliced basil, chopped fresh parsley, grated parmesan, etc.

Instructions

  1. Marinate the tomatoes: To a large bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, & olive oil. Season with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine well. Set aside to soak, marinate, & meld for at least 10-20 minutes. (Time permitting, a few hours yields maximum flavor, but if you’re prepping this at dinnertime, 10-ish minutes will do the trick just fine!)
  2. Cook the pasta: At dinnertime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. Add the capellini and cook to al dente according to package directions. Once al dente, drain the pasta & transfer directly to the bowl with the marinated tomatoes.Cooked capellini pasta sits inside of a white colander that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. An open package of dried DeLallo capellini pasta nests rests alongside the white colander while a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt rests on the other side.
  3. Toss the fresh tomato pasta: Add the shaved parmesan to the bowl with the marinated tomatoes & warm capellini. Toss to combine well. Taste & adjust seasoning as needed.A large white ceramic bowl filled with fresh tomato pasta sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A pair of wooden serving tongs tosses warm capellini pasta with marinated tomatoes and shaved parmesan. A small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, an open package of DeLallo capellini with dried capellini nests, and a bottle of DeLallo extra virgin olive oil sit behind the bowl in the background.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with additional grated parmesan, chopped basil or parsley, &/or a sprinkling of crushed red pepper, as desired. Enjoy!A white ceramic plateful of fresh tomato pasta made with marinated tomatoes. A gold fork rests atop the plate with a piece of grilled bread. The plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a white and brown woven table runner resting underneath. Turquoise blue drinking glasses, a small pinch bowl filled with shaved parmesan, a small ceramic plate filled with grilled bread, a large white bowl filled with marinated tomato pasta, and a blue linen napkin surround the plate at center.

Notes

  • Vegetarian &/or vegan fresh tomato pasta: This marinated tomato pasta recipe is naturally meatless. For a vegetarian version, omit the parmesan or use your favorite rennet-free parmesan. To take it a step further & make it vegan, opt for your favorite dairy-free parmesan instead. 
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover fresh tomato pasta will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Enjoy leftovers cold, at room temperature, or reheat in the microwave until warmed through as desired.
  • 10-15 Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all the active time involved with this marinated tomato pasta recipe comes from prepping the veggies. Take care of this in advance & store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It takes 10 minutes, tops, & with the prep work done, you can jump straight into cooking at dinnertime.
    • Quarter 2 pints cherry tomatoes or roughly chop summer tomatoes of choice. (approx. 10 minutes active prep)
    • Very thinly slice 1 medium shallot. (> 1 minute active prep)
    • Bonus: Take it a step further by prepping the marinated tomatoes according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. At dinnertime, let the tomatoes warm slightly or come to room temperature, then toss together the pasta. (15 minutes active prep)

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil

An overhead shot of finished marinated tomato pasta served in a large white ceramic serving bowl with two wooden serving spoons inside. A small wooden pinch bowl filled with shaved parmesan, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, a small ceramic plate of grilled bread, and a blue linen napkin surround the bowl at center.

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 8.27.23
    Chris W. said:

    We’re starting to be knee-deep in cherry tomatoes and basil so this recipe comes at a great time! Will definitely add it to next week’s menu. Have a nice week…

    • 8.28.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Having too many cherry tomatoes & basil is the best kind of problem to have! This pasta or our Burst Tomato Pasta would be perfect for using all that fresh produce 🙂 Make sure to let us know what you think!

      • 9.27.23
        Chris W. said:

        Made this last night and it was so fresh tasting! We loved the simplicity . We had to be out for a portion of the day so put the tomatoes in to marinate and left them on the counter till dinner. I did add more shallots because that’s a flavor we like alot. Will definitely be making this again.






        • 9.29.23
          Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

          We love this recipe for its convenience, and we’re so glad to hear it was a hit for you, too! Thanks so much for the kind review, Chris!

  2. 8.21.23
    April said:

    This recipe is phenomenal! I probably read the recipe wrong, but I had a tad bit more tomatoes for my preference for pasta to tomato ratio. But the extra tomatoes were amazing with my grilled chicken on the side. Definitely let it marinate as long as possible. The leftovers for lunch the next two days were the highlight of my day.






    • 8.22.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi April, thank you so much for this kind review! We’re so glad to hear you loved the pasta, and extra tomatoes are ALWAYS a great idea!!

  3. 8.1.23
    Bambam said:

    A friend’s homegrown cherry tomatoes, my homegrown basil made it so delicious. Added sautéed shrimp and French bread and wine- fantastic summer meal.






    • 8.2.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Ooooh homegrown tomatoes & basil are the BEST way to prepare this recipe!! So glad you enjoyed it, Bambam!

  4. 7.14.23






  5. 5.7.23
    Catharine said:

    Made this for the 2nd time ~ sooooo good ! Def use a high end EVOO & mini tomatoes that are dark red . Served it with Veal Scallopini 🙂






    • 5.8.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      That sounds SO delicious, Catharine!! Thank you so much for your review!

  6. 8.22.22
    Cameron said:

    Making tonight for the second time! Love that I can prep the tomatoes before I go to work in the am and have a quick dinner that night! Plus the leftovers cold are *chefs kiss*






    • 8.23.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe, Cameron! & that is the perfect way to meal prep this recipe – thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  7. 8.7.22
    Kristin said:

    Really good, and so easy! I made the tomatoes a day ahead, which made a birthday lunch the next day so easy! Definitely a keeper!!






  8. 8.2.22
    Jenni said:

    Made this for dinner last night and was BLOWN away at both the simplicity AND complexity of flavors! It all comes together so deliciously. I’m currently eating the cold leftovers for lunch and oohing & aahing over them as much as I did last night. I should also mention, i’m typically not a tomato lover, but this is quite possibly one of the best dishes I’ve ever made!






    • 8.2.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Jenni! Thank you so much for leaving a comment – it means so much! We are SO glad you enjoyed & couldn’t agree more about it being so simple & so flavorful at the same time 🙂

  9. 7.27.22
    Natalia said:

    Made this tonight with hearts of palm noodles because I am g-free and g-free pasta is gross. I also added a tsp of fermented Calabria chilies. Everything else was the same. This was SPECTACULAR! I can only imagine how magnificent it must taste with actual pasta. It was a big hit with my daughter as well (she is also G-free)






    • 7.27.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Natalia! Thanks so much for leaving a comment, we’re so glad to hear that you & your daughter loved it with the hearts of palm noodles! Sounds like the perfect substitute! 💜

  10. 7.25.22
    Tammy said:

    Made this last night and it was so good! Restaurant quality. My husband suggested adding crabmeat next time. Can’t wait to make it again😊






    • 7.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you for sharing your review, it means so much!!💜

  11. 7.25.22
    Tammy D. said:

    This recipe is an absolute keeper!!! My family loved it and leftovers the next day were just as delicious. My husband said he would love to try this w crabmeat mixed in. I can’t wait to make again!! Thank you 😊






    • 7.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks so much, Tammy! We are so glad to hear that you and your husband loved it!

  12. 7.24.22
    Holly Jones said:

    This recipe was lovely. I saw it on Instagram this morning. My sister had just given me a quart size bag of little yellow pear tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes. I used those, my basil, vidalias (because I didn’t have shallots) and all the other listed ingredients and it was wonderful. I took pictures and sent them to my family. Very pretty and wonderfully light for HOT summer days.






    • 7.25.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks so much Holly! It sounds like it was all meant to be 🙂 & we are so glad you enjoyed!! The leftovers are really good too (if it lasts that long!), thanks again for dropping a comment!

  13. 7.18.22
    Kathryn said:

    This was so easy and so flavorful! I will definitely be making this again!






    • 7.18.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks, Kathryn! We are so glad you enjoyed & couldn’t agree more – it’s the perfect pasta for summer! 🙂

  14. 7.12.22
    Linda R said:

    Oh my goodness, this pasta and tomatoes was absolutely delish and so easy to make. We managed to save some and it made the perfect, refreshing cold pasta for leftovers the next night. This will be in regular rotation every summer from now on.






    • 7.12.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Linda, thanks so much for dropping a comment! We are so so glad to hear that you loved this Marinated Tomato Pasta – it’s one of our go-to’s this summer too!