Essential Summer Pasta
The Essential Summer Pasta Recipe You Need Now Erin McDowell

You forgo makeup, walk around barefoot and even read actual hardcover books. (Remember books?) Midsummer means getting back to basics, and that goes for this pasta recipe too. Seasonal favorite cherry tomatoes are the stars of the dish. Sauté a couple of pints with sweet onions and garlic, then add that goodness to spaghetti. Finish each plate with a sprinkling of fresh basil and a healthy dollop of ricotta cheese for a meal that’s simply delicious.

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Makes 6 servings
Start to Finish: 40 minutes


1 pound spaghetti (or other long pasta)

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 pints cherry tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¾ cup reserved pasta water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped 

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese


1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving ⅓ cup of the pasta water.

2. While the pasta cooks, sauté the tomatoes: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and toss to combine. Cover the skillet and cook until the tomatoes are very tender and bursting, 7 to 9 minutes.

3. Season the tomato mixture with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Add the pasta water and bring to a simmer. The mixture should form a sauce. If needed, add more pasta water.

4. Add the pasta and toss well to coat it in the sauce. To serve, pile portions of pasta onto plates and top each with 2 teaspoons basil and 2 tablespoons ricotta. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Make it an Italian feast: Serve the pasta with a side of our Garlic "Nots."

  • Some like it hot: Stir 2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes into the tomato-and-onion mixture before adding the pasta.

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