A bowl of comforting and delicious bucatini with tomato sauce! This is an amazing 30 minute recipe which uses cherry tomatoes and butter to make an incredibly tasty sauce to mix in with bucatini or any other pasta.

A bowl of bucatini pomodoro, close up of a forkful

Tomato pasta is always a winner around here! Especially if it’s made with fresh tomatoes. This recipe is kind of the holy grail of tomato sauces, because it is incredibly fast to make. We can turn a big batch of cherry tomatoes into a delicious sauce in about 20 minutes. Making this a 30 minute meal, if you’re quick to chop!

Full disclosure: Butter is required to make this work, it gives it a shortcut to amazing flavor and helps to keep the sauce thick.

You should also note that the sauce is a chunky one with the skins and seeds hanging around. Some of us love the rustic vibes, some might not.

Fork lifting bucatini pomodoro out of the pan

This can be a kid friendly introduction to cherry tomatoes

As we just discussed, this is a chunky sauce which can signal the alarm for certain kids. But repeated exposure of this sauce did get my own kids used to it. Because the tomato juices and butter are forming a tasty sauce that coats every strand of pasta, it’s super tasty to eat the pasta even if you’re leaving the cherry tomato chunks. Eventually the tomatoes actually started getting eaten too in my house, which was a nice surprise. Worth a try if you have kids who like the taste of tomato but still need to get used to actual fresh ones, rather than pureed sauces.

If you want to make this for a baby under one, it’s recommended that you use unsalted butter and not add any salt. It might make it a little less palatable for adults however – I’d probably only do this if you’re using really fresh summer tomatoes.

A bowl of bucatini pomodoro with cheese on top

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

Ingredients for bucatini pomodoro
  • The cherry tomatoes don’t need to be cherry! Any baby tomatoes are fine. I am actually using grape tomatoes (baby plum) here. Different tomatoes all have a slightly different juice / flesh ratio so this can affect how fast the sauce thickens and cooks down but it would be a minor difference.
  • The butter can be salted or unsalted, but if you’re using the latter, you will want to add more salt to the sauce.
  • We add sugar to help get the most out of our tomato flavor, this is especially important when you’re using the cheaper tomatoes.
  • Balsamic vinegar is also used, and you can increase this if you want a more noticeable hit of balsamic flavor.
  • I like to use an Italian dried herb mix for ease, but if you don’t have one, just throw together some basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram, thyme – whatever you’ve got.
  • Bucatini could easily be swapped for another long pasta shape. It’s got a really nice bite to it, but even a package of the cheap spaghetti does this sauce justice.
  • Red onion could be shallot, brown onion, white onion… really any onion except for green.
  • I’ve got 4 cloves of garlic here, but you know how it is – do what your heart tells you.
Close up of bucatini pomodoro

If time is of the essence…

If you want this coming together in around 30 minutes, these two points are crucial:

  • Read the recipe beforehand and get an idea of the process. The main opportunity for the timings to get messed up here is not setting the pasta boiling early enough. You want to get your water boiling and your pasta going as soon as you have reached the point where the sauce is left to cook and break down, at the end of Step 3 in the recipe card.
  • The sauce should be cooking on a medium heat, high enough to bubble a little, and the pan lid should be ajar so that moisture evaporates quickly. This is also critical to making sure the sauce thickens up in time.

The first time you make this, it might just take longer because you need to get a feel for it, but if you enjoy it enough to make on repeat you should soon be able to get it on the table pretty quickly.

Bucatini Pomodoro with Cherry Tomatoes

A bowl of comforting and delicious bucatini with tomato sauce! This is an amazing 30 minute recipe which uses cherry tomatoes and butter to make an incredibly tasty sauce to mix in with bucatini or any other pasta.
5 from 1 rating


  • 300 g (10 oz) bucatini
  • 500 g (3.5 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • parmesan or Italian hard cheese, for serving


  • In a deep saute pan or wide saucepan, heat a little olive oil and saute your minced onion until soft.
    1/2 red onion
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic and dried herbs. Mix through until the garlic is fragrant.
    500 g cherry tomatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
  • Add the butter, balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste – and you want to be generous with the salt here, especially if your butter isn't salted. Mix until the butter is melted through and allow the sauce to cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently and keep the heat just high enough that it's bubbling a little. You can break up the tomatoes a little with the back of the spoon.
    30 g butter, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp sugar
  • Meanwhile, set the pasta cooking according to package instructions.
    300 g bucatini
  • The tomato sauce will soon thicken up, at which point you can remove it from the heat until the pasta is ready.
  • Add the basil leaves to the sauce and mix through.
    1 bunch fresh basil
  • Once the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the pan with the sauce, tossing to combine.
  • Serve with cheese on top if desired.
    parmesan or Italian hard cheese
Calories: 498kcal, Carbohydrates: 87g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 91mg, Potassium: 641mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 1206IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 3mg