Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce

May 25, 2013

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The most delicious and flavorful cherry tomato sauce made with garlic, shallots, poached cherry tomatoes and basil. It’s the perfect sauce to toss with spaghetti or any other long pasta shape. Simmered slowly for the most delicious flavor and it couldn’t be easier!

A plate of poached cherry tomato sauce topped with basil sitting on a wooden table

Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce

I have such a weakness for good Italian food. Lots of fresh tomatoes, check. Loads of garlic, check. A cupful of olive oil, check. And plenty of fresh basil, of course, check. I knew it had to be good. And yes, it’s far better than good, it’s unbelievably delicious.

All the delicious fresh ingredients are simmered slowly for around an hour and believe me it is so worth the wait. The end result is unbelievably good and so versatile.

So What’s In This Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce?

The ingredients are so fresh and simple you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen….

  • olive oil
  • shallots
  • garlic
  • cherry tomatoes
  • canned plum tomatoes
  • basil
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes

A close up of cherry tomatoes with drops of water on them

Freshly washed cherry tomatoes with basil and garlic in the background

The Garlic

You may be nervous about that much garlic but after simmering for over an hour it’s flavor mellows way down and the harsh bite of the garlic is diminished. Its like roasting garlic, it’s potency turns to nearly sweet once it’s roasted.

Just keep a tic tac close by (do they still sell those?).

Top Tip For Getting Rid Of Garlic Smell From Your Hands

Wow. I probably smell like a walking clove of garlic (which I don’t really mind but I’m sure my husband would say otherwise :). If you want to get rid of the smell, yes you can buy those stainless steel bars that mimic the shape of a bar of soap or you can just rub your hands around your stainless steel sink for the same effect to remove the odor.

I just always forget I guess, until I’m enjoying the scent of my minty face soap and suddenly it’s strangely mingling with the scent of garlic. With the garlic smell on your hands, in your kitchen and throughout your home it’s worth it if it means this silky, lightly sweet, rich and authentic style, olive-oil-poached cherry tomato sauce awaits.

How To Make The Cherry Tomato Sauce

Combine olive oil and shallots in a pot over low heat and cook 10 – 12 minutes until shallots become translucent and soft. Stir in garlic while coating entirely with oil, cook for 15 minutes until garlic has softened.

Add in cherry tomatoes, crushed plum tomatoes and sugar, cook 20 minutes. Stir in fresh basil stems, partially cover pot and allow mixture to cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until cherry tomatoes have burst and deflated and the mixture has turned to a rich sauce.

olive oil poached cherry tomato sauce | Cooking Classy

Discard basil or remove some of the leaves from stems and reserve in sauce (I ripped some of the leaves off and kept them in the sauce, it couldn’t just toss it all :).

Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste and stir in red pepper flakes to taste if desired. Toss sauce with pasta of choice and serve topped with chopped fresh basil for garnish if desired.

Easy as that!A poached cherry tomato sauce simmering in a pan

Variations – Other Things To Add

  • If you have a carnivorous husband like mine, feel free to add some sort of protein to a portion of the sauce. I added Italian sausage for my husband otherwise I wasn’t sure if he’d eat it. You could add ground beef, pork, turkey or Italian sausage. I say it most definitely doesn’t need it but if you prefer sauce with meat then of course you could add some.
  • You could also add extra veggies and greens such as kale or spinach.
  • Red pepper flakes or fresh chili would add a nice spicy kick.

This pasta could really use some saucy love don’t you think?

A plate of spaghetti without sauce

Yes, much better.

A close up of spaghetti with a cherry tomato sauce

More Italian Recipes You Might Like;

Did you try this Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to see what I’m getting up to in the kitchen.

Olive Oil Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce

The most delicious and flavorful cherry tomato sauce made with garlic, shallots, poached cherry tomatoes and basil. It's the perfect sauce to toss with spaghetti or any other long pasta shape. Simmered slowly for the most delicious flavor and it couldn't be easier!
Servings: 7 servings
Prep5 minutes
Cook1 hour 30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz shallots , shaved or thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 heads of garlic , shaved or thinly sliced (3/4 cup)*
  • 24 oz cherry tomatoes**
  • 2 cups canned plum tomatoes , drained and crushed (I just crushed them with my hands)
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 8 stems fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes , to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine olive oil and shallots in a pot over low heat and cook 10 - 12 minutes until shallots become translucent and soft. Stir in garlic while coating entirely with oil, cook for 15 minutes until garlic has softened. 
  • Add in cherry tomatoes, crushed plum tomatoes and sugar, cook 20 minutes. Stir in fresh basil stems, partially cover pot and allow mixture to cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until cherry tomatoes have burst and deflated and the mixture has turned to a rich sauce.
  • Discard basil or remove some of the leaves from stems and reserve in sauce (I ripped some of the leaves off and kept them in the sauce, it couldn't just toss it all :).
  •  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste and stir in red pepper flakes to taste if desired. Toss sauce with pasta of choice and serve topped with chopped fresh basil for garnish if desired.

Notes

*I used 3/4 cup but the original recipe stated you could use 1 cup garlic or reduce to 1/2 cup. This for me was about 2 heads of garlic to get 3/4 cup.
**Original recipe listed 17 oz (4 cups) cherry tomatoes but I decided to add more, so if you only have 17 oz that's enough. Another side note, sugar not listed in the original recipe.

Variations - Other Things To Add

  • If you have a carnivorous husband like mine, feel free to add some sort of protein to a portion of the sauce. I added Italian sausage for my husband otherwise I wasn't sure if he'd eat it. You could add ground beef, pork, turkey or Italian sausage. I say it most definitely doesn't need it but if you prefer sauce with meat then of course you could add some.
  • You could also add extra veggies and greens such as kale or spinach.
  • Red pepper flakes or fresh chili would add a nice spicy kick.
 
Recipe Source: adapted from Graffiato via Washington Post
Nutrition Facts
Olive Oil Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 336 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 105mg5%
Potassium 469mg13%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 648IU13%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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40 Comments

  • Megan

    With a huge cherry tomato crop this summer, I’ve made this sauce twice (quadruped the recipe each time – that’s a LOT of garlic!). Aside from the time it takes to peel that much garlic, I love how simple the recipe is. I chose to pulse the sauce (in batches) in the blender at the end, resulting in a really rich and almost creamy sauce. I canned most of the sauce and have many jars in the pantry so that we can enjoy these bright summer flavors through the winter.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      How I wish I had a canner to do the same :)! I’m glad you like this recipe Megan, thanks for your comment!

  • Ashley B

    I made this sauce tonight and it was perfect. This is the first year I’ve ever done a garden and I had a ton of extra cherry tomatoes. I followed your recipe til the end where I decided to separate some of the olive oil out. there was a good bit that kept rising to the top. after i did that, the taste and consistency was perfect. this was the first time ive ever made sauce (we always buy from a jar) and this was a million times better. I’m confident enough in this recipe to make it for the next family gathering.
    Thank You!

  • Tracy B

    I made this last night for my boyfriend’s birthday. It was a huge hit…he raved and I agree. It’s so fresh tasting and we have these ingredients on hand typically. This is a 10!
    Thank you!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you and your boyfriend liked this pasta sauce Tracy – and happy Birthday to him :)! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  • Mel

    I’m new to cooking. Are you supposed to drain the extra sauce off of the canned tomatoes or put it in the mixture? Thanks.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I drained it in this recipe, it would probably be okay with it I just didn’t want the extra juice. I hope you try this and love it Mel!

  • Sam

    I can’t wait to try this at home. Definitely check out Graffiato — the sweet corn agnolotti in the summer is incredible!

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  • Kristie

    I am soo making this a little later this summer, we will have lots of tomatoes and already have fresh basil growing in the garden.

    Is there anyway to use less oil? Is the oil left in the sauce? Also, can’t use the Garlic, any suggestions on a replacement? I may use a sprinkle to get the taste.

    Thank you!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes you could reduce the amount of oil, you obviously have a different outcome that won’t be quite as rich but still a delicious sauce. As far as replacements for garlic there’s not really one that I can think of that would make a good replacement. Shallots are similar to garlic so maybe you could up the amount slightly. I think you may also want to add in some more herbs (like thyme, marjoram, parsley, or rosemary) to get a little more flavor somehow because the garlic in this recipe brings a good amount of flavor.

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