Weeknight Cooking

Pasta With Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce

June  5, 2019
8 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

This summery pasta sauce is easy enough for a weeknight, but special enough to make for friends. It relies on a boatload of cherry tomatoes, which get quickly charred in a skillet, then spruced up with anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes (feel free to ditch the anchovies to make this vegetarian). The secret to it being creamy but not too creamy? Half-and-half, which is just what it sounds like: half cream, half milk. Just before you eat, top the pasta with plenty of fresh herbs: Basil is classic, but try mint, parsley, and oregano, too. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is featured in the story, Turn Your Cherry Tomatoes Into This Easy, Creamy Pasta Sauce, sponsored by Hood Cream. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, preferably mixed colors
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Hood Half-and-Half
  • 8 ounces short-shaped pasta (such as penne, fusilli, or cavatappi)
  • Fresh herbs, for serving (such as basil, mint, or oregano)
  1. Set a large pot of water on the stove over high heat to come to a boil. When it starts to simmer, season it with salt (I estimate 1 tablespoon kosher salt per 1 quart water).
  2. While that’s heating up, make the sauce. Set a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when it’s very hot, add the tomatoes. They should sizzle and hiss. Season them with salt and stir so all the tomatoes are coated in oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are starting to char in places, split at the skins, and release their juices.
  3. Add the minced anchovies anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir. Cook for about 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the half-and-half, stir, and lower the heat to medium. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to the consistency of thick cream.
  4. When your water is boiling, add the pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. If your sauce is waiting on the pasta, you can put it on the lowest heat possible just to keep it warm, or cut the heat altogether.
  5. As soon as the pasta is ready, drain it, then add it to the sauce. If you cut the heat earlier, turn it back on to low and toss until the pasta is completely coated. Taste and adjust the salt and red pepper accordingly. Serve hot, with fresh herbs sprinkled on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christine Butterscotch Clements
    Christine Butterscotch Clements
  • Erin Alexander
    Erin Alexander
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

13 Reviews

Gina September 19, 2020
Absolutely outstanding with late summer cherry tomatoes from my garden. I am so sad that tonight will be my last batch of tomatoes and this recipe.
Sinamen78 August 15, 2020
Can I sub in Anchovy Paste for the Anchovies ? What would the equivalent be ?
Emma L. August 17, 2020
Yes! You could start with about 2 teaspoons and adjust to taste from there.
JP July 20, 2019
Why Hood Half-and-Half? Just curious.
Erin A. July 22, 2019
Hi there, JP! We actually partnered up with Hood Dairy to create this recipe, so Emma used one of their products (Half-and-Half) while developing it. That's why you see it on the ingredients list here. I hope that answers your question, and always feel free to reach out if you have any others!
Melissa J. July 2, 2019
Simple and delicious! Made this for my vegetarian parents with grated parm on top and it was a hit. Even my meat and potatoes husband loved it!
Anne S. June 29, 2019
I’ve made this twice already — delicious and simple!
Emma L. July 1, 2019
Yay, so glad to hear that!
Christine B. June 23, 2019
How long will this keep, covered in the refrigerator? Recipe looks lush, thank you so much, and very much like a pasta dish my mother used to make for my sister and I when we were children!
Emma L. June 24, 2019
At least a few days! (I always just give leftovers a quick sniff/taste test.)
Erin A. June 21, 2019
I am totally using up my container of cherry tomatoes to make this this weekend!
Emma L. June 21, 2019
Do it!
Eric K. June 5, 2019
Dayum! This sounds so good. I love cherries in the summer.