Linguine with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

This week I had a lot of fresh heirloom tomatoes that I wasn’t sure what to do with, so I figured I would go with a simple preparation to highlight their wonderful fresh summery goodness. Along with fresh basil, this all came together wonderfully.

After you cook the pasta, make sure to reserve some of the cooking water! This is absolutely essential.

The butter added at the end is a great idea and adds a rich creaminess to the sauce, but I’m sure it would still be delicious with a bit more olive oil instead. If you have butter though, use it! I promise that it will be worth it.

If you have another kind of fresh tomatoes, use those. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use an equivalent amount of canned diced tomatoes, but make sure to drain them completely.

I adapted this recipe from one I found at the New York Times, which had way too high of an oil and pasta to vegetables ratio for my taste. The recipe also called for blanching, skinning, and removing the seeds from the tomatoes. I personally think this is a travesty, as the entire tomato is delicious and the seed pulp is especially thick and delicious. Needless to say, my tomatoes were unaltered for this recipe. If you don’t want skins in your sauce, remove those, but I advise keeping the seeds!

This recipe is: vegetarian, gluten free (with gf pasta)


  • 10 oz uncooked linguine
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lb fresh tomatoes, quartered (or equivalent amount canned diced tomatoes, drained completely)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp butter


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until slightly smoking.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Keep in mind that the tomatoes will reduce and concentrate the salt, so it is better to start with a small amount (or no) salt and add more to taste later.
  2. Use a potato masher to chop the tomatoes into fine chunks until all of their liquid is released. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the linguine in salted water for half of the package’s directed cooking time. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
  4. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as desired. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat until all of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente. If the sauce is over-reduced, use the linguine cooking water to adjust.
  5. As soon as the pasta is in the al dente zone, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter, basil, and parmesan, and mix thoroughly. Taste again and add more salt/pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

Serves 3.


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