No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Inspired by Marcella Hazan’s buttery tomato sauce, this 2-ingredient, no-cook take comes together in the blink of an eye. De-juice cherry tomatoes, then buzz up with butter and salt. Store in the fridge for pasta emergencies. It’s also very good on grilled bread and steamed rice. Emma Laperruque

Food52 Review: This is one of our Big Little Recipes. Read more here: A No-Cook, 2-Ingredient Spin on the Best Tomato Sauce Ever.The Editors

Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 15 min


  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, soft
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In This Recipe


  1. Prep the cherry tomatoes. Cut each one in half. Now squeeze out the pulp—either by pinching the tomato or scooping with your fingertip. Discard the pulp and collect the deseeded halves in a 1-cup measuring cup—it should be full by the time you’re done.
  2. Add the prepared tomatoes to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the butter and salt. Pulse, scraping down as needed, until cohesive and rosy in color. Use immediately or store in the fridge.

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Reviews (19) Questions (1)

19 Reviews

Shabri F. July 14, 2018
Can I use canned whole tomato?
Author Comment
Emma L. July 15, 2018
Hi! I wouldn't recommend that substitution here. While you may be able to make a similar compote butter with canned whole tomatoes and butter, because the water content is so different, the tomato to butter ratio could be very different as well.
Maureen July 12, 2018
I'm confused. I thought the pulp of the tomato was the flesh and that it was left behind when you squeeze out the seeds. But you imply the skins are all that's left. Help?
Author Comment
Emma L. July 13, 2018
Hi Maureen! The pulp is the juicy, seedy part of the tomato. The 0:24 mark of the video above shows this step of the recipe. Hope that helps!
Babette's S. July 12, 2018
I added onion and/or garlic salt. I've also added fresh or dried herbs, like basil, thyme, parsley, oregano. I've also tried adding some diced sauteed onion when processing the butter & tomatoes in homage to M. Hazan. All terrific & great to have on hand, not just for pasta but toasted crusty peasant bread or baguette, rice etc.
Author Comment
Emma L. July 13, 2018
Oo love the idea of adding sautéed onion!
Natalie W. July 9, 2018
This was delicious! I stirred this into a pot of bowtie pasta with a grated clove of garlic, a small handful of chopped salt cured black olives and some torn fresh basil and oregano. Finished it with a bit of grated parmesan. I will definitely make this again!
Author Comment
Emma L. July 9, 2018
That combo sounds sooo good!
Natalie W. July 9, 2018
This morning I used the butter as a base for avocado toast. Yum! I am trying to think of ways on how to use up all that butter. Tempted to use it on BLTs tonight.
Author Comment
Emma L. July 9, 2018
If you listen very, very closely, you can hear the BLTs cheering!
Kristen July 8, 2018
I'd love to hear a little more about how to use the prepared sauce! Boil noodles, and then add [how much?] sauce, stirring in some of the hot noodle water, maybe?
Author Comment
Emma L. July 8, 2018
Hi Kristen! Yes, I like to boil the pasta in salty water, then use a slotted spoon or tongs (depending on the shape) to transfer the pasta to a waiting bowl with the tomato butter. As I mentioned to Theresa below, about 1/2 cup tomato butter per 1 pound pasta is a good bet, but that's totally personal. Toss and add more tomato butter or pasta water to taste. Hope that helps!
Gina O. July 6, 2018
Sounds delicious. How long will the sauce keep in the fridge?
Author Comment
Emma L. July 8, 2018
It should be good for several days—but may spoil quicker than other compote butters because of the juicy tomatoes.
Theresa July 6, 2018
How much pasta do you use?
Author Comment
Emma L. July 8, 2018
Hi Theresa! Figure about 1/2 cup tomato butter per 1 pound of pasta. That said, this is the sort of recipe I always eyeball, adding bit by bit to taste. (There's no such thing as an over-buttered noodle, right?)
Theresa July 12, 2018
Thank you so much!
Misty212 July 4, 2018
Would a hand blender work too? I don't have a processor.
Author Comment
Emma L. July 5, 2018
It might! I haven't tested that method with this recipe, so I can't say for sure. If you try, let me know!