It’s not worth fussing too much with summer tomatoes. When they are so juicy and sweet this time of the year, it’s truly hard to improve on them. That’s why tomato sandwiches and caprese salads exist. That’s also why this sauce exists. Slow-simmered tomato sauces are glorious, but save those for when you’re trying to coax life and flavor into the canned stuff come winter. For this recipe you need to do nothing but toss the tomatoes you grabbed from the farmers market into a blender, add a little garlic, olive oil, and fresh basil, and transform the mix into the brightest, liveliest thing you can toss with pasta this summer.
The Quickest Sauce for Summer Pasta
This recipe is as low-effort as they come. Everything just needs to be roughly chopped before it heads into the blender — no need to even peel or seed the tomatoes, as the blender will do the work and break everything down into a smooth sauce. A steady stream of olive oil helps thicken and emulsify the sauce while it blends to create something that’s a touch rich but still ridiculously fresh-tasting.
My suggestion for you: Toss the sauce with your favorite pasta, then top each bowl with a generous dollop of good-quality, fresh ricotta cheese. The ricotta is a cool, creamy contrast to the bright sauce and truly makes this a fast and fancy pasta you won’t be able to get enough of.
Fresh Tomato Blender Sauce
Makes 3 cups sauce, enough for 1 pound of pasta for 4 to 6 people
1 1/2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes (5 to 6 tomatoes), coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound dry pasta, such as casarecce, gemelli, angel hair, or linguine
Fresh ricotta cheese or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Place the tomatoes and garlic in a stand blender and blend until chunky, about 10 seconds. Continue blending, slowly streaming in the olive oil, until the mixture is smooth, 20 to 30 seconds more. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the basil, salt, and red pepper flakes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, transfer it to the bowl of tomatoes, and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, finished with a dollop of fresh ricotta or grated Parmesan.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: The sauce can be make up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it come back to room temperature before using.