This is another popular summertime recipe in my house because the only thing I have to truly cook is pasta. This no-cook pasta sauce is simple, flavorful and delicious, especially when you use sun-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil from your garden or farmers market.
Take your pick of tomatoes and see what you like. For this, I prefer a beefy red or roma, but I have mixed in some fruity heirlooms with good results. Cherry tomatoes are really great for this also – just cut them in half, to help release their juices. You’ll have to play around with what you like. Also – feel free to mix up the cheese: Parmesan works great, of course, but a little cubed, fresh mozzarella adds a creaminess to it. A spoonful or two of ricotta also works beautifully.
As far as the pasta itself, I tend to make this with whatever I have on hand, whether it’s fresh or dried, though I’d stay away from anything too heavy, such as rigatoni. Two things that really make this work best are this: let the sauce sit for at least an hour at room temperature. This gives the salt time to work its magic on the tomatoes and helps them release their juices. The second thing is to add the sauce immediately to the hot, drained pasta, which ensures the oil becomes smooth and the cheese and tomatoes heat up and soften. Seems simple enough, right? It is!
This is definitely not a “measure it out” dish – if you like more garlic, add more. If you like more tomato, add more. If you like more basil, or cheese, or oil, add more. If you want a bit of kick, add a few crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce before it rests. You’ll find what you like and works for you. The recipe below contains my best “guesstimate” measures, since I literally throw this together in about 10 minutes. This is truly an easy summertime recipe. Enjoy.
no-cook fresh tomato and basil pasta sauce
- 4 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb pasta (fresh pasta cooks a lot faster than dry, so just another hot-weather tip!)
In a large bowl, mix everything but the pasta together. Set aside, at room temperature, for at least one hour. After an hour, you’ll notice that the tomatoes have released their juices and the sauce is much saucier than when you started. Cook pasta and drain. Immediately add tomato sauce and stir well. See how simple and easy that was? This is a great weeknight recipe and also perfect for a meatless Monday dish. If you want another no-cook pasta sauce recipe check out my Lemon, Basil and Parmesan recipes here and here.
Happy cooking and Happy Independence Day! Let the fireworks begin!