Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce

This is the sort of easy summer cooking I love:  basic, fresh ingredients coming together as something altogether pleasing in a few short minutes.  Although perfect over pasta–and I have included a simple, “every-night” recipe along with the sauce instructions below–this sauce is incredibly versatile.  Use your imagination to create quick, flavorful meals based on what you love.

I particularly enjoy this rustic sauce over roasted or grilled eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. Consider picking your grain of preference, be it quinoa or brown rice, and creating your own option to the traditional pasta dinner.  After cooking the grain, add the grilled or roasted veggies (even leftovers work well), stir in some of this chunky sauce, adding any other flavor boosters that may appeal.  Mozzarella or feta cheese and Kalamata olives pair particularly well and make a simple combination of ingredients a little extra special.

Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce is also delicious on this recipe for Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan, and I have a new all-in-one seafood spin on this recipe coming soon.

Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce
When cherry tomatoes are plentiful, I adore this quick-cooking chunky sauce on pizza, pasta, roasted eggplant, or by the spoonful! Don't hesitate to get creative and use it over rice, quinoa, and/or sautéed zucchini. The flavors are even better the second day, so feel free to prepare in advance. If making ahead, sprinkle the basil on just before serving to retain its bright green color.

Yields 4 - 6 servings; approximately 20 ounces of cooked sauce.
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  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 4 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (2 pints or 1 quart)
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  7. 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
If serving with pasta
  1. 12-16 ounces fusilli, rotini, penne, or other short spiral or tubular pasta, cooked according to package directions (reserve a cup of pasta cooking water; see notes)
  2. 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (about 8 ounces)
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant but not turning brown.
  2. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. As the tomatoes cook and soften, mash them with a fork to help them form a chunky, rustic sauce. Cook the tomatoes for approximately 5-6 minutes total.
  3. Sprinkle with torn basil before serving.
  4. If serving with pasta, transfer the tomato sauce to a bowl with the pasta, and toss to combine.
  5. Stir in the mozzarella and add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.
  1. Choose the amount of pasta based on whether you like your pasta extra saucy or not. I like a high ratio of sauce to pasta so use the lesser amount of pasta.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

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  2. Lanie

    this is so up my ally! going out to the garden right now to pick the tomatoes and make the sauce for the kids dinner tonight. Yummm

  3. Suzanne

    My 8 yo son, who “hates” tomatoes LOVES this recipe. He specifically requested it last week. It’s making our nightly routine – great for this vegetarian! Thanks, Ann!

  4. barbara Giacometti

    Bring on the Pasta!! looks fabulous Ann!

    Now, I must ask, where did you get your social icons across the bottom of your website? I am needing some serious updates on my blog and your’s looks great!
    Barbara Giacometti!!!

  5. Jenn

    I see a cast iron skillet up there, full of acidic tomatoes…HOW DOES YOUR SAUCE NOT END UP TASTING METALLIC?! I’m pretty new to cast iron cooking, but I’ve found that if I use vinegar or tomatoes in the dish, the whole thing will end up with a metallic taste. How do you avoid this?

    1. Ann

      Hi Jenn,
      Maybe your skillet isn’t well seasoned. Try coating the clean pan liberally with oil (any cooking oil; I typically use olive oil) and baking it in a 350 F oven for two hours. This will season the pan more quickly. Then, every time you heat oil in it, the seasoning will be improved. You can also do the oven seasoning more than once. I hope this helps…I think once you do this you will really love your skillet. It becomes truly nonstick.

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  7. Elaine

    Ann this recipe was well timed. I had a big crop of cherry tomatoes wondering what to do with them. Now I know. Made this dish tonight and both my husband and I felt we were eating at a fine Italian restaurant. I roasted skinless, boneless chicken thighs and served the sauce on top of whole grain penne pasta, topped with the chicken and grated a little asiago cheese on top – perfection. So easy.
    Thanks for yet another keeper.

    1. Ann

      There’s nothing like eating a 5-start meal in your very own kitchen, and I love your addition of roasted chicken thighs. Thank you for the great comment, Elaine…and stay tuned to a another recipe using cherry or grape tomatoes coming soon.

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    1. Ann

      I have yet to freeze this sauce, Heidi. I make it when I have enough tomatoes and then we eat it all…but I do think it would freeze very well.

  9. Sue

    I made this speedy sauce last night with your deconstructed eggplant parm, WOW!! It was amazing, my husband kept saying “there are so many interesting flavors.” Thanks for another wonderful recipe. Love your website

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