30 Minute Meals/ Main Dishes/ Pasta/ Pinterest Favorites/ Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti

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I am super excited to share this dish with you today – a lightning fast weeknight meal that delivers luscious flavor from simple, fresh ingredients – spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic. The secret to pull this together is an easy emulsified sauce.

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This lightning fast weeknight meal relies on an emulsified sauce to deliver luscious flavor with simple, fresh ingredients - spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.

Normally, we learn that oil and water don’t mix, right? Unless you throw caution to the wind and rapidly boil them together for several minutes, in which case magic happens. The resulting light sauce delivers the flavor of olive oil in a way that doesn’t merely coat, but adheres to the pasta.

This lightning fast weeknight meal relies on an emulsified sauce to deliver luscious flavor with simple, fresh ingredients - spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.

This lightning fast weeknight meal relies on an emulsified sauce to deliver luscious flavor with simple, fresh ingredients - spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.

This recipe has been in my back pocket for about four and a half years, when I dog-eared a particularly delicious-looking page in Cooking Light. But it’s one of those meals I accidentally forget about for months at a time, probably because it is just so simple that it hardly seems like a recipe at all. But that’s a shame, because it deserves frequent appearances on the dinner table – mine and yours.

This lightning fast weeknight meal relies on an emulsified sauce to deliver luscious flavor with simple, fresh ingredients - spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.

Any cherry tomatoes will work for this, but if you can find an heirloom mix, all the better. In addition to infusing the spaghetti with a rich olive oil flavor, the sauce enhances without drowning the roasted tomatoes and garlic. I love to serve this with a simple side salad and call it a day – it’s one of those meals that you leaves you feeling satiated but not the least bit heavy.

Last but not least, I know this post is already a little picture-happy, but I couldn’t resist adding a snapshot of my little sous chef, ready to add some extra grated cheese to the finished product. (He’s got good instincts!)

I hope he’s always this excited to help in the kitchen! Enjoy, friends, and have a nice weekend.

Pan-roasted Tomato Garlic Spaghetti.

3 votes


Pan-Roasted Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti




Yield 3-4 servings


  • 1 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 8 oz. uncooked spaghetti 
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, multicolored if you like
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 oz. parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
  • 1/4 cup small basil leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp. salt. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Return drained pasta to the pot.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine 9 tbsp. of the reserved pasta water with 3 tbsp. olive oil, and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 4 minutes to emulsify the sauce, then add it to the pasta and toss to coat.
  4. While the pasta cooks, combine 2 tbsp. olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss to combine. Bake for about 11 minutes, until tomatoes are lightly browned and just beginning to burst. Add tomato mixture, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper to the pasta. Toss again to coat, top with cheese and basil, and serve. 

Source: Lightly adapted from Cooking Light, August 2012



  • Reply
    March 8, 2018 at 1:35 am

    What a delicious meal! You have changed my mind about cherry tomatoes for good.
    I added more garlic because I love it. Used six cloves. Wow! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Perfect meal for a Nor’Easter!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Barbara, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe, and six cloves of garlic sounds pretty good to me, too – I’m a fellow garlic lover! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know that you liked it – it means a lot to me!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Emily Rampton
    February 14, 2018 at 4:31 am

    This is pretty much the perfect weeknight dinner! Simple, delicious and fresh! Love it!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 2:49 am

    This looks incredible! So colorful that it would be hard to resist this for any meal!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Hey there! Your spaghetti looks pretty darn good. I love the simple method you’re using! Thanks for a great idea for busy nights.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    I think this would be such a great healthy dinner for my whole family. There aren’t many meals where we all like all of the ingredients, but this one will fit the bill. Those tomatoes are so pretty!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    What a perfect meal for anytime but especially during the Summer when tomatoes are at their peak!

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  • Reply
    February 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I have been thinking about this dish since I read the recipe and saw the incredible pictures! I will make it sometime this weekend and will let you know how it turns out.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Hooray! I hope it turns out well for you – can’t wait to hear!

      • Reply
        November 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

        Hey there! I’ve made this many times now and always love it! My parents are coming for Thanksgiving and I’m thinking of making this the night they get in…something kind of light. I plan to have a little salad too. Is there some kind of protein you can recommend that would go well with this?

        • Reply
          November 15, 2017 at 1:32 pm

          That sounds like a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving dinner to me! I would probably pair this with chicken breast, just to keep it very simple. My favorite way to do it would be to buy thin-sliced breasts, take them out of the fridge 10-20 minutes before you plan to cook them, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and black pepper, then dredge each side lightly through all-purpose flour. Saute in a little drizzle of olive oil just until cooked through, probably 2-3 minutes per side, and they will have a great, light flavor that I think would complement this pasta really well!

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