Spache the Spatula

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

It’s hard to beat a simple seasonal recipe.

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipeThis particular recipe was actually never planned. I just found myself with some extra slices of these gorgeous tomatoes, and since they were the absolute best I’ve ever had, it was an absolute necessity to not put them in the fridge where they could lose their flavor in a plastic baggie, and instead find a use for them ASAP.

I decided on a simple tomato sauce with tons of fresh basil, and it turned out beautifully!

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe

The finished sauce is kind of funky color due to the fact that it’s made with heirlooms of all colors, and has basil blended right into, but don’t allow it’s greenish-orange hue to dissuade you into thinking it’s not one of the best tomato sauces you will ever try. Because it absolutely is! It’s unassuming, but packs a ton of fresh flavor.

They key is ripe, Summer tomatoes!

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipeThis recipe will make a pint of sauce (enough to fill a standard-sized mason jar), and it will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days. I found this to be enough for about 6 servings of pasta.

The first time, I served this with cappelini pasta, as you can see in this photo taken in less than ideal conditions (i.e. inside at night with terrible tungsten lighting):

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipeBut the next time, I used spaghetti (seen in the rest of the photos), and I found it to be even better! It seems to hold the sauce better and stay moister.

When I serve this sauce on pasta, I add in a couple tablespoons of freshly-grated parmigiano-reggiano when I toss the pasta (as well as about 1/4 cup of pasta water), and top it with some fresh basil and more cheese. It’s kinda perfection, and Mikey agrees.

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe

And holy cow, it’s Friday! How’d that happen?! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

Yield: 1 pint of sauce (about 6 servings)


  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 10-12 ounces heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ounce fresh basil, torn or chopped
  • 1/2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a food processor, pulse together the tomatoes and garlic until finely chopped.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottemed pot (I like using my enamel dutch oven.) Add in the onions and cook for 8-10 minutes until translucent. Add in the tomato mixture and the tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Simmer on low for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring ever so often, until the sauce has reduced a bit. Add in the basil and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Pour all of the sauce into a blender and blend until fairly smooth. Return to the pot, stir in the balsamic vinegar, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

This will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days.

recipe adapted from here

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce | #recipe


17 Responses to “Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce”

  1. Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven — September 12, 2014 at 5:05 am

    This pasta looks sooo good, Rachael! Aaand it’s kinda the perfect way for me to use up my overload of garden tomatoes AND basil! WIN. 🙂

    • Rachael replied: — September 12th, 2014 @ 11:38 am

      Oh yes! I had almost forgotten that you are way too lucky and have an amazing garden that I'm totally jealous of! Hopefully I'll have mine finished before next Summer!

  2. Amallia @DesireToEat — September 13, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I love this kind pasta, tomato and basil are always perfect combo. Yum!

    • Rachael replied: — September 13th, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

      It really is a classic; thanks, Amallia!

  3. Graham @ Glazed & Confused — September 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

    This is straight up my alley.

    I’m a bonafide basil addict. Like, people have to stop me from putting it on everything I eat. Such a classic and so so delicious!

    • Rachael replied: — September 13th, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

      Gahh me too! Especially when it's Summer. In Summer, everything is about basil and tomatoes for me.

  4. Nicky @ Kitchen Sanctuary — September 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Simple to make, minimal ingredients, but looks sooo tasty. That’s my kind of recipe 🙂

    • Rachael replied: — September 14th, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

      Thanks, Nicky!!

  5. Elizabeth @ — September 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    This sounds so amazing! I am so glad good tomatoes are still available so I can give this a shot before winter comes!

    • Rachael replied: — September 14th, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

      Yes! I feel like I need to make like 5 more jars and actually can them, so I can have this forever haha

  6. Tamara Coleman — September 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I can’t believe I’m just finding your blog! I love everything heirloom and your photography is PERFECTION as well as your pasta! Yum! 🙂

    • Rachael replied: — September 14th, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much, Tamara!! I'm glad you found me!

  7. Stephanie — July 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    We love this recipe! My husband and I have used this recipe to can 30 pounds of heirloom tomatoes including Goldens, Cherokee Purples, and Roma tomatoes. Excellent flavor and easy recipe.

    • Rachael replied: — July 1st, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

      That’s so great to hear, Stephanie! And I’m so jealous of your bountiful heirloom tomatoes supply!!

  8. Gay — September 9, 2015 at 11:48 am

     This year was my first time of raising German Striped Heirloom tomatoes. I was amazed at the size of my crop. My first picking was eight tomatoes but each were over a pound and a half!   During that time my life was very very busy and I was at a loss to decide what to do with all my tomatoes with limited time. I stumbled upon your blog and just made the most delicious marinara pasta sauce!  I am so thrilled I found your recipe I added a few more herbs and a little more garlic but you nailed it. Thank you so much!  Bon Appétit! 

    • Rachael replied: — September 9th, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

      Gay, I’m so glad you lived the sauce! And how awesome that you were able to use your own, home-grown tomatoes! I’m jealous!

  9. Val — February 21, 2017 at 6:35 am

    This is yum. I’ve used just whatever tomatoes I could find and after step 4, I will add a can of drained tinned mushrooms to it and heat it gently before slathering the pasta in it!

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