Summertime Pasta

Sorry for my absence around these parts the past couple weeks. This past summer was busy! Great busy but still busy. We just got back from an amazing trip to Italy - more on that trip in a future post once I round-up all my photos. But first the important things, like pasta. I have been dreaming of pasta these days. I proved to myself in Italy I could eat pasta everyday and all day – I can’t help myself. Instead of hearty pasta with meat sauce I have been craving easy one-dish pastas that take advantage of the simple summer season and all of its fresh flavors. And yes I still consider it summertime, especially with the 90 degree heat that is hitting the Bay Area. So until the weather changes, it is still summer! In celebration of summer and all of the produce that is at its peak right now, this summertime pasta is just that – a bowl of pasta goodness that is filled with garlic, tomatoes, basil and of course, Parmesan cheese.

I used to think that pasta needed a big heavy sauce to go with it. Something like a Bolognese or marinara (which are delicious don’t get me wrong) but after sampling pasta dishes all over Italy, I much prefer a simple flavorful pan sauce. Plus they are way easier to make.


This pasta’s pan sauce gets its flavors from sautéing shallots and garlic, then deglazing the pan with a little wine. By adding in cheese, butter and lemon zest, you have a delicious sauce that will highlight the pasta and the blistered tomatoes that top the dish. Make sure to add enough salt – the right amount of salt will take this dish from tasty to perfection.


Summertime Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine
  • 2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tbs. basil or mint, julienned
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, optional


Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the label instructions until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining and set aside (tossing with a little olive oil if needed to prevent sticking.) 

Warm 2 Tbs. olive oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have started to wilt and blister about 5 minutes. Remove tomatoes and their juices from pan and set aside.

In the same pot, warm remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook for about 1 minute until shallot is translucent. Carefully deglaze the pan with white wine and continue cooking until the wine is reduced halfway, about 2 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt and turn the heat to low. Add lemon zest, butter, and cheese and stir until butter is melted. Add pasta and coat with pan sauce, adding reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Fold in tomatoes, herbs and a large pinch of salt and pepper

Serve immediately with more Parmesan cheese.