Summer Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 pound curly pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 6 ounces pancetta, preferably thick cut, diced*
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 quart mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups whole basil leaves, torn
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • *(for vegetarian version, leave out pancetta, but add ⅓ cup pecorino cheese)
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (1 minute less than package instructions). Drain pasta, reserving a cup of the hot pasta water.
  2. If the tomatoes are different sizes (like the farmer’s market mixed heirlooms), cut the cherry-sized ones in half and leave any small ones whole, so they’re all roughly the same size.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high, add oil and give it a swirl to coat the bottom. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to render and turn a little brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir until they are coated in the oil. Season with a little sea salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the tomatoes shrivel up slightly, release some juice and brown a bit at the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the drained pasta to pan with the tomatoes and toss (if the mixture looks dry add a little pasta cooking water a few tablespoons at a time). Cook over high heat until the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce. Add the butter and toss until it melts and coats everything.
  5. Turn off the heat and top with a generous mound of fresh basil and scallions. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and more pepper before serving.
  6. Note: If you want to make the dish vegetarian, leave out the pancetta and toss ⅓ cup grated pecorino in with the butter.
Recipe by Nerds with Knives at