There is nothing simpler than fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce.  Bright cherry tomatoes are sauteed in butter with chopped onion, tossed with al dente fettuccine, and finished with fresh parsley and basil.  Perfect for weeknights or when you’re short on time but don’t want to compromise on flavor.

Fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce in grey plate.

Inspired by Italian culinary Queen Marcella Hazan’s tomato butter sauce, our version has just a few tweaks.

Hazan’s famous recipe calls for canned crushed tomatoes, an entire onion (not chopped and removed after cooking), and butter.  

 

We opted for fresh cherry tomatoes and chopped onion for ours and it’s every bit as delicious.  

Because we are using butter, the sauce has an incredibly rich body and a velvety texture that will leave you wondering why you haven’t been adding butter to your tomato sauce all along.

Sometimes the best things in life really are the simplest…

Ingredients shown: cherry tomatoes, butter, onion, fettuccine, parsley, and basil.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Begin by slicing in half 3 pints of cherry tomatoes.  Also, dice 1 medium onion.

Fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. In a large pan, saute the onion in 1 stick of unsalted butter for 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until the onions become soft and translucent. 
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Cook the sauce over medium heat for 30-35 minutes (stir frequently and lower heat if scorching). 

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. At this time bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water) water to boil.  After about 20-30 minutes the cherry tomatoes will burst and soften and the butter will completely blend in with the tomatoes.  When the sauce is almost to your liking begin boiling the fettuccine to 1 minute less than al dente.  If needed, you can turn the heat down or remove the tomato sauce from the burner while waiting for the pasta to cook.
  2. A few minutes before the pasta finishes cooking, add 1 cup of pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine.  Cook the sauce over medium heat.  Make sure to reserve extra pasta water in case it’s needed later on.  Top tip:  Get in the habit of reserving your pasta water for all pasta recipes you make.  It’s always good to have extra pasta water to reconstitute a dried-out pasta or to help emulsify many types of sauces through tossing or rapid stirring.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Cook until the pasta is just al dente then turn off the heat. 
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper to get the flavors just right.

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. Remove the pan from the heat.  Add a 1/4 cup of minced parsley and a 1/4 cup worth of hand-torn basil leaves, toss once more, then plate.  If the sauce is at all dry add more of the reserved pasta water a few ounces at a time to loosen it up.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Kitchen tweezers holding fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce in black pan.

Top tips for velvety cherry tomato butter sauce

  • The tomatoes.  This recipe uses 3 pints of red cherry tomatoes.  Feel free to add another pint – if you want more sauce – or experiment with different colored cherry tomatoes, like orange, yellow, or even the green cherry heirloom type.  This is a simple sauce with relatively inexpensive ingredients – the best type of sauce to experiment with.  Feel free to add some canned crushed tomatoes to substitute for part of the cherry tomatoes as well.
  • The butter.  We used unsalted butter for this recipe.  If you prefer to use salted butter you can, however, just be sure to taste test as you may not need to add much additional salt at the end. 
  • Save your pasta water.  As with most of our recipes, we recommend saving some pasta water.  The pasta water can really help reconstitute the butter and cherry tomato sauce pasta if it becomes too dry.  Start by adding just a few ounces at a time to prevent the pasta from becoming overly watery.  
  • The herbs.  We finished this pasta with some hand-torn basil leaves and chopped fresh parsley.  These are optional and can be omitted if you don’t have them on hand.  We don’t recommend using dried herbs or seasoning for this recipe.

Fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce in black pan.

More simple pasta recipes 

One of the great things about fettuccine with cherry tomato butter sauce is that it can be made in about 35 minutes and requires just a few ingredients.  Here are a few other simple pasta recipes that are perfect for when you’re short on time and don’t want to run to the grocery store.

  • Fettuccine Alfredo – Butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, starchy pasta water and fettuccine – simple but always delicious.
  • Penne puttanesca – Olives, capers, anchovy, tomato, and penne are tossed together in this super flavorful pasta dish.
  • Roasted cherry tomato pasta – Cherry tomatoes and garlic are roasted and tossed with pasta, extra virgin olive, and fresh basil.
  • Linguine al limone – Lemon zest and juice, fresh basil, Parmigiano Reggiano and butter are tossed with linguine.
  • Linguine aglio e olio – The simplest of them all, pasta is tossed with garlic, oil, crushed red pepper, and parsley.
  • Tuna pasta  – also known as Pasta al tonno, this is made with canned yellowfin tuna, garlic, capers, and fresh parsley.

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Fettuccine with Cherry Tomato Butter Sauce

4.98 from 77 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Cherry tomatoes are sauteed in butter with chopped onion, tossed with al dente fettuccine, and finished with fresh parsley and basil. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound fettuccine or linguine, spaghetti, etc
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • 1/4 cup basil hand torn
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all

Instructions 

  • In a large pan saute the onion in butter over medium-low heat until soft (about 5 minutes) then add the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes initially with a teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • Cook the sauce over medium heat for 30-35 minutes (stir frequently and lower heat if scorching) or until the cherry tomatoes have burst and softened and the butter has completely blended in with the tomatoes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water) water to boil. When the sauce is almost to your liking begin boiling the fettuccine to 1 minute less than al dente.
  • A few minutes before the pasta finishes cooking add 1 cup of pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Cook until the pasta is just al dente then turn off the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper as required. Add the herbs, toss once more, then plate. If the sauce is at all dry, add more of the reserved pasta water a few ounces at a time to loosen it up. Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Some tomatoes will be juicer than others.  If you need a bit more tomato, feel free to increase the amount of cherry tomatoes or supplement with 14 ounces (half of a can) of crushed plum tomatoes.
  • Make sure to reserve extra pasta water, to thin the sauce as much as required to avoid it drying out. 
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 660kcal | Carbohydrates: 96.7g | Protein: 16.9g | Fat: 25.5g | Saturated Fat: 14.6g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 758mg | Potassium: 687mg | Fiber: 7.8g | Sugar: 12.3g | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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172 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I did add garlic and red pepper flakes. I did not miss meat at all. Can’t wait to make it again.

    1. 5 stars
      I watched the video first, before I cooked it. I will say it was delicious 😋. I used spaghetti noodles, thats what I had on hand and 3 different cherry/ grape tomatoes from the garden. This makes a lot. VERY good end result. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m new to this Sitwell recommended by a friend.
    I love the recipes. They are similar to my style of cooking so it’s fun
    To get a little different spin on the dishes.

  3. 5 stars
    Ok. This one rocked. Didnt see the part where the tomatoes are halved which I didnt. Great sweet taste. Made it with a “brown” spaghetti as no fettuccine was volunteering. Since my Dr sent me for a heart calcium score I should shun butter but NO WAY. Now, to make my Dr happy, would olive oil instead of butter change it much? Adding olives or capers(less salt). Avocado on the side next to Brunello di Montalcino. Thanks.

    1. Hi Al, if you’d prefer to use olive oil in place of butter, I’d direct you to my marinara sauce or roasted cherry tomato sauce. Both of those use olive oil. So happy you enjoyed this one!

  4. 5 stars
    What an amazing dish. It’s just the two of us these days, but my husband insisted that I make the full recipe…boy, am I glad I did. We are avid watchers.

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for the comment. I’m so happy you and your husband enjoyed the recipe and thank you for watching our videos!

  5. 5 stars
    Sooo good. Used about 5 cups home grown toms, thinking that wasn’t enough, used 3/4 cube of butter. Seemed too saucy at first, but cooked it a little longer after adding pasta & it was perfect. Had garden basil and parsley. Was really fun to make with so much from the garden.
    Jim, what are your favorite cherry toms to grow?

    1. Hi Patsy, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed! My go-to are cherry 100s. I’ve never had a problem with them!

  6. 5 stars
    This dish / recipe is SO incredibly delicious, especially as the list of ingredients is small, usually on hand and the dish is really easy to prepare. I made it for last night’s dinner (2nd time to make it) and added some Portuguese sausage at the very end. (It’s perfect sans meat but my husband prefers that his meals include some meat.)

    I didn’t actually read the recipe this time, just looked it up for the ingredient amounts, and so didn’t cut tomatoes in half, which was a time saver. I did use a potato masher at the end to help a couple of the tomatoes to break down. I maintain a shared (with my siblings) doc of amazing recipes and I’ve added this one to the list!

  7. 5 stars
    This is my favorite pasta. Actually this is my favorite thing to eat! This recipe is so delicious. I love it with grated Parm or pecorino. I dream of this dish when I am in between cooking it. Thank you for creating this recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    We make this all the time now. My Tex-Mex husband didn’t like pasta and now he buys it at the grocery and asks for it!!❤️

    1. Hi Terrie, I’m so happy to hear you and your husband enjoy this one! Thanks for the comment and rating!