Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

In honor of this very delicious tomato season, here is another fresh tomato recipe! This one comes in the form of a light, buttery sauce coating thin spaghetti, garnished with bunches and bunches of fresh basil, and a little grated Parm (if that’s your style). Ya’ll. It’s so good and perfect and easy. I made it for lunch the other day and I’m not usually someone who drags out a pan and lights up the stove for lunch. But these fresh, juicy tomatoes were calling my name.

chopped tomatoes in a bowl

These are Cherokee Purples; they’re the kind that grow best for us and they’re an heirloom of North Carolina. They just need a few moments in a skillet with a little oil and garlic, until they become slightly saucy from their own juices.

chopped tomatoes cooking in a saute pan
A word about pasta water

This tomato business actually happens in less time than it takes to cook pasta, so you should get that going first. Once the pasta is ready, transfer it to the skillet with the tomatoes and add some of the starchy, salty pasta water to make it saucier. Do you drain your pasta? I always use tongs (or a spider for short pasta shapes) to grab it from the pot and transfer it to my pan of sauce. I live in fear of carelessly throwing my pasta water down the drain only to realize too late that I need a splash of it to help my sauce. As Bon Appetit points out, starchy pasta water is the ultimate emulsifier. And I want everything in my life to be emulsified.

Anyway, melt in a bit of butter and – voila! – you’re done. The last step of tearing some fresh basil leaves and showering them over your gorgeous, summery pasta is more like a gift to yourself than a task to complete. Soak up all the fresh, sunshiny vibes of that moment. Then, twirl as big a mess of this loveliness as you can manage onto your fork and dig in💘

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link to a spider I like to use to drain short pasta, from which I may earn income. Not this kind of 🕷.


Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

A light, buttery sauce with fresh, ripe summer tomatoes and lots of fresh basil. Completely delicious and easy to pair with your favorite long pasta!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, lunch
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 4 oz thin spaghetti or whatever kind of pasta you like
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 lb fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a big pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/41/3 C starchy pasta water
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 C fresh basil
  • grated Parmesan to taste for garnish – optional


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to 1 minute less than the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and big pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook the tomatoes for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the pasta is not done yet, turn the heat off under the tomatoes – you don’t really want to cook them down too much.
  3. When the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer it from the pot to the skillet with the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add 1/4 to 1/3 C of the pasta water to the skillet. Stir to combine everything and cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  4. Stir in the butter until it melts into the sauce. Turn off the heat, tear the fresh basil into smaller pieces and stir it into the sauce. Serve, garnished with some grated Parm, if desired!


*Nutrition information is approximate

Keywords: fresh tomato sauce, quick and easy recipe, summer tomatoes

2 thoughts on “Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce”

  1. Light, fresh and delicious, and so quick to prepare! I served over with fresh Italian sausage ravioli with a mixed green salad with more heirloom tomatoes! Perfect September dinner!
    Your recipes all look so fresh and delicious, I’ll definitely be returning to this lovely website.

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