Why you’ll love this recipe:
Cherry tomatoes impart a nectarous sweetness, unlike any other tomato! If you’ve ever popped one into your mouth straight from the vine, you know what I’m talking about. A burst of sweet juice comes flying out. Their naturally sweet flavor, thin skins, and watery insides create a crave-worthy pasta sauce in minutes.
- Butter-kissed cherry tomato pasta sauce
- Ready to eat in 30 minutes
- Garden fresh ingredients like tomatoes, basil, and garlic
Stir it into cooked spaghetti, drizzle it on baked cod, or thin it with chicken broth and serve with crusty bread for a quick soup! This versatile cherry tomato sauce is kid-friendly and easy to make. It lasts an entire week in the fridge, although ours never seems to make it that far.
Key Ingredient Notes:
You only need five simple ingredients for this cherry tomato sauce recipe.
- Olive oil – Olive oil has a fruity, complex flavor that adds something extra to tomato dishes. If possible, use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
- Cherry tomatoes – For best results, use peak-season cherry tomatoes. If it’s not tomato season, don’t sweat it. The flavor of the cherry tomatoes will intensify as it simmers! This sauce is delicious any time of year.
- Garlic – Three garlic cloves may seem like a lot, but garlic sweetens and mellows as it cooks. It won’t overpower the sauce.
- Basil – Fresh basil gives the sauce that quintessential Italian flavor. If you don’t have fresh, dried basil does the trick. Just remember to use less dried basil than fresh. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, which means you only need a third of the amount.
- Butter – Once you add butter to this sauce, you won’t ever leave it out again! It adds a slight richness and rounds out the acidity of the tomatoes. Use unsalted butter so the tomato sauce isn’t too salty.
How to make this recipe:
1. Saute the cherry tomatoes
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften and start to burst – about 10 minutes. Smash the tomatoes every so often to release their juices.
- Add the garlic, basil, and salt to the pan. Cook the sauce for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend the sauce in a regular blender as well.
3. Strain the sauce (optional)
For velvety smooth texture, I love straining the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. If you don’t mind bits and pieces of tomato and skin, you can skip this step.
- Pour the sauce into a fine-mesh sieve sitting over a large bowl. Use a spatula to press the mixture into the sieve to release as much sauce as possible.
4. Add butter
- Stir in the butter, then allow the sauce to cool. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- You can double or triple this recipe, then freeze or can it for later use.
- I like to freeze it in individual-sized portions so I can pull out the amount I need. Heavy-duty freezer bags make it easy to do that. You can also pour the sauce into ice cube trays which makes it easy to thaw. Just drop the frozen cubes into a skillet or saucepan and heat until melted. Or these souper cubes are beyond convenient for freezing the sauce in 1/2-cup or 1-cup amounts!
- Cherry tomato pasta sauce is a great recipe to can using the water bath method. Fill a sterilized jar with a tablespoon of lemon juice, then add the tomato sauce, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Boil the sealed jar for 35 minutes in a large pot of water with a canning rack in the bottom. It’s important to follow proper procedures when canning at home to prevent foodborne illness.
- Store the sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze it for longer storage. Let the sauce cool before you transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Leave enough room in the container to let the sauce expand while it freezes. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight, or for a quicker method, place the frozen sauce into a bowl of cold water to thaw. If you’re in a hurry, microwave the sauce until its reheated. Just be sure it’s in a microwave-safe container.
Ways to use cherry tomato pasta sauce:
Think beyond spaghetti noodles and try one of these delicious options.
- Slather it on some pizza dough and sprinkle with mozzarella for a quick homemade pizza!
- Cutting carbs? Roast a spaghetti squash then stuff with cherry tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Yes, please!
- Add chicken stock to thin it out, then serve with grilled cheese. It makes a fantastic tomato soup.
- Make an Italian quesadilla with mozzarella and roasted veggies, then use this sauce as a dip.
Peeling cherry tomatoes is a tedious and unnecessary step for tomato sauce. You can use whole, peel-on cherry tomatoes in the sauce even if you like it silky smooth. Just cook the sauce as directed, then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. This step removes all the bits of skin and seeds, leaving a velvety smooth sauce behind.
If your sauce is too thin, it needs to simmer longer. As the sauce cooks, the water evaporates, giving you a thick and flavorful sauce. If you don’t have time to simmer the sauce longer, add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and stir until thickened.
Yes, you can freeze cherry tomatoes whole and you don’t even need to blanch them! Wash and dry your cherry tomatoes, then transfer them to a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan into the freezer until the cherry tomatoes are frozen. Place the tomatoes into a freezer-safe bag and label with the date. Frozen tomatoes aren’t ideal for salads or recipes that call for fresh tomatoes, instead use them in sauces, soups, and stews.
Cherry Tomato Sauce
- large skillet
- fine-mesh sieve
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes Note 1
- 3 garlic cloves grated
- 4 fresh basil leaves Note 2
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Note 3
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften and start to burst, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic, basil, and salt and continue to cook the sauce for 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom and smash the tomatoes every so often.
- Carefully transfer the sauce into a blender and process until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.)
- Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Press to extract as much sauce as possible. (This step is optional, but it’s worth it because it yields a silky smooth sauce.)
- Stir in the butter. Transfer into airtight container and refrigerate.
– Store the sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze it for longer storage. Let the sauce cool before you transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Leave enough room in the container to let the sauce expand while it freezes. Freeze for up to 3 months.
– Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight, or for a quicker method, place the frozen sauce into a bowl of cold water to thaw. If you’re in a hurry, microwave the sauce until its reheated. Just be sure it’s in a microwave-safe container.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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