This easy burst tomato pasta is ready in under 30 minutes with spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and lemon. Vegan, Vegetarian.
Staring at a pile of fresh tomatoes? Make this burst cherry tomato spaghetti!
This easy pasta is ready in under 30 minutes with fresh summer tomatoes, garlic, shallots, and plenty of fresh basil.
Wrap it all up in a simple lemon and white wine sauce for a light, silky, perfectly summery weeknight pasta.
How to make this pasta recipe
- Cook the pasta in very salty water until it's al dente (and reserve some of that starchy pasta water for later!)
- Cook the cherry tomatoes in a very hot skillet with a bit of oil (we like using cast iron or another sturdy pan here) until they just begin to burst and pop, then stir in a bit of shallot and garlic.
- Add a splash of white wine and a generous pinch of salt, then simmer until the wine has reduced by half.
- Add your cooked spaghetti, a bit of reserved pasta water, and finish it all off with plenty of fresh basil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Our secret weapon: Pasta water.
Once your pasta has cooked, you’re left with a pot of salty, starchy, cloudy water.
This pasta water? It is liquid gold.
Adding a spoonful of pasta water to this burst tomato spaghetti adds flavor, stretches sauce a bit farther, and helps the sauce stick to our noodles for a smooth, flavorful, ultra-silky finish.
(You can also see this technique in action with our Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Orzo Pasta Salad, and Spring Veggie Pasta!)
Riffs and Substitutions
This burst tomato pasta is very forgiving: mix it up with whatever you have on hand! Some of our favorite swaps and additions:
- Add extra veggies. Wilt some kale or spinach into this pasta at the very end of cooking for a pop of color. Add grilled corn, zucchini, bell peppers, or any other summer veggies you have in the fridge!
- Swap out the noodles for zucchini noodles or sheet pan spaghetti squash for a lighter, veggie-packed option.
- Add some protein. We love adding a can of drained butter beans or chick peas to this pasta to make it a bit heartier. We love this pasta without meat, but if you're a meat eater you can add grilled or shredded slow cooker chicken (similar to our chicken caprese pasta). Seafood is also great in this pasta (we like adding mussels, clams, grilled prawns, or fish - similar to our lemon barramundi pasta).
Video: How to make burst tomato pasta
You may also like
Burst Tomato Pasta
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Italian-American
- Diet: Vegan
This easy, silky burst tomato spaghetti is ready in 30 minutes with fresh summer tomatoes and a few pantry staples.
- ½ pound spaghetti
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 heaping cups)
- 1 large shallot, sliced (about ½ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine (we used a Chardonnay)
- ½ packed cup fresh basil, sliced, plus extra for garnish
- ½ of a large lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in a large pot of very salty water until al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet (we like cast iron) over medium-high heat.
- When oil shimmers, add cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring only once or twice, for 3-4 minutes until skins have blistered and begun to burst. Note: Tomatoes can pop and splatter as they cook: keep an eye on them and use a splatter screen if you like!
- Add shallot and garlic to the skillet and give everything a good stir. Cook until the shallots have softened, about 1 minute. Note: The pan will be hot at this point, so the shallots will cook pretty quickly: make sure you have the rest of your ingredients ready to go!
- When shallots have softened, add a pinch of salt and the white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until wine has reduced by not quite half.
- Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain spaghetti and add the cooked pasta to the skillet with your tomato mixture. Use tongs to toss the pasta with the sauce until it’s evenly coated.
- Add reserved pasta water a Tablespoon or two at a time, using tongs to toss in between each addition. You won’t need the full amount of reserved pasta water!
- Add basil and a squeeze of lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Remove from heat. Garnish with more basil and a few turns of cracked black pepper. Serve immediately!
Substitutions. Use onions instead of shallots. Use vegetable or chicken stock in place of the dry white wine. Swap heavy cream, butter, or cauliflower cream for the pasta water if you prefer. Use any pasta you have on hand or omit the starch altogether and serve with zoodles or spaghetti squash! Swap parsley or sage for some or all of the basil here if you like.
Additions. Add fresh kale or spinach at the end of cooking for a pop of color. Add drained butter beans or chick peas for extra protein (if you’re a meat eater or pescetarian, you can also add chicken, Italian sausage, shrimp/prawns, clams, or mussels to this recipe). Add zucchini, squash, grilled corn, garlic scapes, bell peppers, or any other summer veggies you have lying around to make this a bit heartier! Top this pasta with some parmesan cheese if you like.
What if I don’t have cherry tomatoes? You can use 2 cups of roughly chopped tomatoes instead. They won’t blister like the cherry tomatoes, but you can still cook at high heat for 3-4 minutes to get that deeper flavor. You can also use ½ cup of canned tomato sauce instead of the cherry tomatoes for a smoother sauce.
How much spaghetti should I make per person? As written, this recipe is usually perfect for 2 people if we don’t have any other sides. If we serve it with salad, bread, or another side dish/dessert, it’s typically enough for 4 people.
Taste as you go! Not all salts (and not all palettes!) are the same. Make sure to taste the pasta before serving and add salt and pepper as necessary (and remember that the pasta water will add some salt as well!) With so few ingredients, seasoning becomes extra important here.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 297
- Sugar: 5.3 g
- Sodium: 600 mg
- Fat: 4.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 50.4 g
- Protein: 8.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan, vegetarian, summer
The photos for this recipe were taken by Casey at The Mindful Hapa!
Not sure how something this simple can be so amazing and tasty?! the burst tomatoes were so good, I had to resist eating them by the spoonful!
Team Life As A Strawberry
Thanks SO much, Casey!!