This simple mascarpone tomato sauce is made with summer-ripe cherry tomatoes, caramelized garlic and creamy mascarpone cheese. Finished with grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves, this pasta is the epitome of summer.
If you're looking for a quick and easy mid-week dinner recipe, then this mascarpone tomato sauce is right up your alley. This sauce is made with juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes that are cooked with lots of fresh garlic, red pepper flakes and the secret ingredient, mascarpone cheese.
The acid from the tomatoes and the richness from the mascarpone cheese are a match made in heaven. This sauce is perfectly balanced and only takes 15 minutes to make.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick and simple- This fresh tomato sauce is ready to go in 15 minutes and clean up is a breeze.
- Great for gatherings- This dish is such a crowd pleaser and you won't have to slave away in the kitchen all day preparing it.
- Kid friendly- This recipe is a great way to introduce new flavors to your kiddos. My son loved the sweet tomatoes and couldn't get enough of the creamy sauce.
- Budget friendly- This recipe proves fresh, good quality ingredients do not have to cost a lot of money. Most of these ingredients are staples in your kitchen and are easy to find inside your local grocery store.
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Cherry tomatoes- Feel free to use any color or size for this tomatoe sauce. Pick tomatoes that have a firm skin and bright vibrant color.
- Garlic- Skip the jarred garlic and use fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor.
- Crushed red pepper flakes- This is completely optional and you can increase the amount if you want your sauce to have a little extra heat.
- Oregano- I use dried but if you have fresh oregano on hand, you can use it as well. Fresh herbs are more pungent, so add to your taste.
- Mascarpone cheese- Similar to cream cheese, this Italian cheese can be found in the specialty cheese department.
- Fresh basil- You can find fresh basil all year round. Its usually sold in a bunch or packed inside a clamshell in the produce section.
Step By Step Instructions
Here is how to make this easy and delicious fresh tomato sauce.
STEP 1: Caramelize garlic. Heat oil inside a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, followed by red pepper flakes (optional). Stir the garlic so that it does not burn. Cook for 1 minute.
STEP 2: Cook tomatoes. Add whole cherry tomatoes and season with dried oregano and salt. Stir the tomatoes so they are coated in the oil. Continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst, about 6-8 minutes.
STEP 3: Smash tomatoes. Using the back of a fork or a wooden spoon, smash the tomatoes to bring out some of the natural juices.
STEP 4: Cook pasta. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package instructions. Drain pasta, while reserving 1 cup of pasta water to add to the sauce.
STEP 5: Add mascarpone cheese. Scoop mascarpone cheese into tomato mixture. Stir until melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add reserved pasta water and mix together.
STEP 6: Add basil. Take fresh basil leaves and toss them into the sauce.
STEP 7: Toss in pasta. Add cooked pasta into the sauce and stir until combined. Cook for an additional minute to allow all the flavors to mend together. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and add additional basil if desired.
Use fresh tomatoes rather than canned. There's something so satisfying when the tomatoes pop and release all their natural juices.
Use fresh garlic and skip the jarred stuff. Garlic that comes in a jar has citric acid added to it and can change the flavor. Stick with the fresh stuff in this recipe. It makes a big difference in taste.
This is a very rustic tomato sauce. So make sure not to over cook them so they maintain their shape and texture.
Keep an eye on the garlic once you add it to the oil. It can go from being caramelized to being burnt in a matter of seconds. As soon as you smell the garlic, add the tomatoes.
Yes, however the taste will be slightly different. Mascarpone has a wonderful velvety, melt in your mouth texture. It's also more mild than cream cheese and does not have the same tangy flavor.
While this sauce is great on pasta, feel free to spoon it on top of meatballs or grilled chicken. Serve it along side some fresh burrata and grilled bread or spoon it on top of your pizza for a delicious twist.
Yes, but make sure to remove the core and slice them into a medium dice so they cook more quickly. I highly recommend using cherry tomatoes for a sweeter flavor and better overall presentation.
Storing and Freezing
Refrigerate any leftover mascarpone tomato sauce inside an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop.
If you have a lot of cherry tomatoes, I recommend making a double batch so that you have some to freeze and enjoy later. Place cooled sauce in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw, place inside the refrigerator overnight.
Other Summer Recipes To Try
Creamy Mascarpone Tomato Sauce
Mascarpone Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- 8 cloves Garlic
- 4 cups Cherry tomatoes
- ¼ tsp Red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp Dried oregano
- ¼ cup Mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup Vegetable stock or reserved pasta water (if serving with pasta)
- ¼ Fresh basil leaves roughly chopped or left whole
- Salt to taste
- pasta, zucchini noodles, grilled bread, meatballs, grilled chicken
- Additional mascarpone cheese, extra basil, drizzle of olive oil, red pepper flakes
Mascarpone Tomato Sauce
- Heat oil inside a large skillet on medium heat. Add chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for one 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add cherry tomatoes, dried oregano and season with salt. Cook tomatoes for 6-8 minutes until they begin to soften and burst.
- Use the back of a fork or wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes slightly to extract some of their natural juices into the sauce.
- Spoon in mascarpone cheese and stir until melted and completely combined. Add vegetable stock or reserved pasta water if serving with pasta. Toss in fresh basil leaves.
- Serve this mascarpone tomato sauce with your favorite pasta, meatballs or grilled bread.
- Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra mascarpone cheese, extra basil leaves and a drizzle of good quality olive oil on top.