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Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

This dish is all about using the best that summer has to offer. You can store this sauce in a container for about a week. It is also great on thick Italian bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella. I make this a lot for my mom and me when we are having a day together and the guys aren't coming home for dinner. Her garden always has the best tomatoes.

Technique tip: Make sure to generously salt your pasta water, then save about 1/4 cup of the water before draining. The pinch of sugar helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. You can also use a drizzle of honey. It's best to add the sauce to the warm pasta and toss gently to coat.

Swap option: This recipe will also work well with Parmesan cheese. You can also use any form of pasta you have on hand.


  • 1 pound bucatini or long pasta of choice
  • 3-4 good summer tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 6 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
  • ricotta salata cheese, grated



Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, making sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.


Slice a thin round off of the bottom of each tomato. Starting with that end, grate the tomatoes over the larger holes of a box grater into a medium-sized bowl, until all that's left is the flattened tomato skin and stem, which you can discard.


Using a rasp grater, grate the clove of garlic into the bowl.


Add in the olive oil, lemon zest, kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and sugar. Stir gently to combine. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, if possible.


Pour sauce over the pasta, along with kalamata olives and basil. Toss to incorporate.


Top with grated ricotta salata cheese.