Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Farfalle with a no cook tomato sauce. Just fresh tomatoes, basil, olives, cheese and a few other ingredients.


Now that your mouth is burning from the green chile I’ve been serving up this month, I thought I would help cool things down a bit and introduce you to another of my tried and true recipes – Farfalle with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil (a no cook tomato sauce).  This recipe was inspired by one I saw many years ago in Gourmet magazine (I think).  Over the years I have taken the original recipe and tweaked it a little here and there, playing around with different cheeses, pasta, and a variety of ingredients.   The recipe I’m sharing with you here is the best of them all, and a recipe that I am not allowed to change. 🙂  During tomato season I make this three or four times, then once the fresh, local tomatoes disappear, we wait until next year to have it again.

This dish requires fresh picked, quality, ripe tomatoes and fresh picked basil. The tomatoes and basil are mixed together in a bowl with a few other ingredients, allowed to rest for at least an hour, then tossed with hot pasta.  (If you can’t eat pasta, rice works just as well.)   The hot pasta melts the cheese and provides a base for this wonderful no cook tomato sauce.  I think you’re going to love it!

Basket of fresh basil and tomatotes



Farfalle with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour


5 – 6 medium fresh tomato, coarsely chopped (1.5 to 2 pounds tomatoes)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sweet onion, minced
10 large pimento stuffed green olives, sliced thin
1 cup somewhat loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
1 cup grated Monterey jack or Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Red wine or fruity vinegar
Generous amount of fresh ground pepper
A touch of sea salt
8 ounces Farfalle (bowtie pasta)


A pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes, basil, olives and cheese

  1. Combine all ingredients, except farfelle, in a large bowl (large enough to hold the tomato mixture and the pasta when it’s cooked)
  2. Let the tomato mixture set at room temperature for at least one hour.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the directions and to desired doneness.*
  4. Drain well and add to the fresh tomato mixture, toss to combine.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

*Since it takes about 30 minutes to make the pasta, I usually start the water for the pasta after the tomato mixture has rested for 30 minutes.

Farfalle with a no cook tomato sauce. Just fresh tomatoes, basil, olives, cheese and a few other ingredients. @mjskitchen


Kitchen Notes

The Basil – There is no replacement for fresh basil.  Dried basil does not work!

The Tomatoes – Always use firm, ripe tomatoes.  If the tomatoes are mushy or overripe, find another use for them, but don’t use them for this dish.  As far as the type of tomato goes, whatever type you have, except for Roma or cherry tomatoes. There isn’t enough jelly in Romas to help create a “no cook sauce” and cherry tomatoes have too little meat and too much skin.  Large heirlooms are the best!  However, I’ve used all sorts of tomatoes for this dish and they all work wonderfully, just as long as they are GOOD medium to large, meaty tomatoes.

The Farfalle – For years, I made this with linguine. Then sometime last year, I didn’t have any linguine so I used farfelle. We both actually preferred the farfelle. With the farfelle it is easier to grab a little of everything in one bite; therefore, I would highly recommend using it over linguine.  I would not recommend Penne which is too thick for this sauce nor angel hair (Capellini) which is too thin.

The olives – We’ve had this with green olives, black olives and both, but our favorite are the pimento stuffed olives, and since I buy them in the huge jars, I always have them in the refrigerator.  However, most any type of olive works.  I haven’t found one that didn’t.

The cheese – Our favorite is Monterey Jack, but most any type of young white cheese works. You want a young cheese with a low melting point.  That way, the cheese will soften and even melt a little bit when you add the hot pasta.

The garlic – Because this recipe uses raw garlic, a medium sized clove yields a relatively strong garlic flavor after an hour of resting in the sauce.  If you’re not a garlic fan, just leave the garlic out or use a really small piece.  I’ve used roasted garlic in this dish, but to be honest – I prefer the raw garlic.


  • For a spicy version, add ¼ to ½ tsp. red chile flakes.
  • For a gluten-free version, use rice instead of pasta.

Pasta, fresh tomatoes, basil, olives and cheese

Here is a link to a similar dish – Linguine with Tomatoes, Brie and Basil  – which I saw over at Southernboydishes the other day.  I’m going to be trying this one next.  It looks delicious!


This Pasta with a no cook sauce of fresh tomatoes and basil has been shared with the following blog hops:  My Meatless Monday,  Hearth and Soul  .


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57 Responses to “Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil”

  1. Minnie@thelady8home September 30, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    The combo, the colors, and the flavors – jump out of the screen. Gorgeous salad MJ!

  2. Amber @ The Cook's Sister September 25, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Great pasta! I make a similar no-cook tomato sauce this time of year. However, I’ve never thought to add green olives!!!

    I’m so surprised to see green olive in one of your recipes! My first visit to NM, I tried to order a pizza with green olives. I was offered black olive or green chile as alternatives. Someone said you can’t get green olives in the Southwest. Is this something that has changed recently? Or was I misinformed?

    Either way, I need to try out your recipe sometime soon!

  3. Nancy/SpicieFoodie September 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Hi MJ!

    Just stopping by to say thanks for being a part of the YBR!

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 29, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Your basil look so fresh! I’d definitely want to include that in cooking. This is a simple and delicious pasta that we can always rely on on busy days.

  5. Chaya August 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    I so agree with you about fresh basil. It has a strength that no dry basil could come close to and it is so pretty. Thanks for sharing with My Meatless Mondays. Have a wonderful week.

    • mj August 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Thanks Chaya! Hope you have a wonderful week as well.

  6. Su Anne August 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Those little orange tomatoes did great in this recipe. Ted LOVED it. SA

    • mj August 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Well thank you and Ted! So glad you liked it and those little tomatoes are awesome! So sweet!

  7. rebecca August 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    love simple and fresh pasta dishes like this

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles August 23, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I had such a great smile looking at your FB post re:UPS & the shipment of Green Chile in New Mexico – how great is that? :).

    Your salad looks gorgeous — so full of life. Basil has got to be the all time perfect complement to tomato and I love that you added olives here too (I eat olives with virtually every salad — I used to call them “little bits” when I was a kid and apparently started asking for them at the age of 2! some habits never change ;-)). I wouldn’t alter a thing in this recipe either. Don’t mess with perfection! ;o).

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Yes – that sign was pretty funny! Just another show of how proud we are of our chile. 🙂 “Little bits” for olive – I like that. 🙂

  9. Ramona August 23, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    I love the pure flavors of this dish… back to the basics and delicious!!

  10. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen August 23, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    I like pasta with tomatoes and basil because it’s a fresh and light meal. mmmmmm…

  11. Helene D'souza August 22, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Certainly, your pasta with fresh tomato and basil will work with the kalamata olives we get here MJ. Yes it’s a simple dish but so full of flavors. Of course, as you mentioned, fresh ingredients are a must. Love it MJ! =)

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Thanks Helene! Yes Kalamata olives worked great in this.

  12. Soni August 22, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    Gorgeous pasts dish and such fresh flavors too!I love the tomatoes with basil,such a classic combo and the olives seems like a lovely addition!Will be trying this since we love pastas 🙂

  13. Adora's Box August 22, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    What a light and fresh yet vibrant dish, MJ. This would be a perfect side dish for barbecues or just a light lunch main. Love how the photos.

  14. Bill August 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    It’s really difficult to beat pasta, tomatoes, basil, and cheese! I love the addition of the olives. I think I could eat my weight in this dish! Great post!

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks Bill! I guess you saw that I’m making your version next. 🙂

  15. Charles August 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi MJ, your wonderful bowl of pasta looks so colourful! Such a delicious meal – pasta, I love it, with such beautiful, summery ingredients. Basil as well – my all time favourite herb I think… I don’t think anything could ever have too much basil, right? 😀

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Totally agree Charles! Basil Rocks! 🙂 I had some grilled baby artichokes yesterday and Santa Fe that had been marinated in a lemon basil marinade – awesome!

  16. Karen (Back Road Journal) August 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    One of my summer favorites. The heat from the pasta just warming the tomatoes is so good.

  17. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies August 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    What a fabulous summer meal! I can’t wait until I start getting more tomatoes from my garden. 🙂

  18. Kathy August 21, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Yummy! Just in time for basil pinching.

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Hey Kathy! So good to hear from you! Yes – Perfect reason to pinch those basil plants! I think you and Mike will enjoy this! XOXO

  19. Sissi August 21, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Pasta always taste best when simple, with seasonal high-quality products and yours looks exactly like that! You have reminded me I don’t eat Italian pasta often enough (I’m so absorbed with Asian noodles and rice…).

  20. Katerina August 21, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    This is a wonderful dish! I love all the flavors you added to it! Definitely my choice especially during summer!

  21. Treat and Trick August 21, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Gorgeous photos and a wonderful meal! This is always be my favorite…

  22. Giulietta | Alterkitchen August 21, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    I love fresh tomatoes and basil sauce, but I usually cook their mixture for a bit. Your version in interesting, though!

    • mj August 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks Giulia! You should really try it uncooked if the Italian in you will let you do that. 🙂

  23. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 21, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    I’m covered up in basil – I’m making this!

  24. Raymund August 21, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Nice and simple pasta recipe, perfect for anything grilled

  25. CCU August 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    Fresh pasta dishes are much better than heavily laden with sauces – love it 😀


  26. Hotly Spiced August 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    I love this simple pasta dish. I think olives and tomatoes are a wonderful combination. I know everyone in my family would love this xx

  27. Tessa August 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    What a lovely pasta salad MJ! Perfect for a weekend BBQ!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks Tessa and you’re right!

  28. ChgoJohn August 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Fresh tomato pastas are one of the reasons I grow tomatoes, MJ. I really do like the flavor of pasta dressed with fresh, rather than cooked, tomatoes. Your recipe here sounds like a good one and I’ll gladly give it a try — once I get over this BLT addiction. I just can’t help myself. Good thing I’ve got plenty of tomatoes!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      I’m with you John – I can’t think of a better use except maybe a BLT. Darn – now I’m craving a BLT! Well, I know what we’re having for lunch tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks!

  29. Liz August 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Oh, this is the BEST of summer’s harvest! I have made similar dishes with fontina or brie…but not yet this year. I need to grab some tomatoes and add this to our menu. Thanks for perfecting the recipe for us all 🙂

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      thanks Liz! I never thought of using brie until I saw the recipe at Southern Boy Dishes. It sounds wonderful and a cheese I’m definitely going to try.

  30. Carole August 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    that pasta just pops – fantastic pic, MJ. Hope things are going well for you. Cheers

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks Carole! It’s a beautiful dish, so not hard to photograph. 🙂 Hope things are well with you also.

  31. Debra August 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    I have lots of basil. Can you ship me some fresh tomatoes? 🙂

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      I’d love to ship you some, but I have a hard enough time getting them from the market home. I pick the best, ready to eat tomatoes I can find. I have lots of basil as well, and are putting it in everything I can’t think of. 🙂

  32. Vicki Bensinger August 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Your photo looks so appetizing. I’d love to have a plate of this right now. Bright, healthy and delicious!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks Vicki! The meal is very appetizing!

  33. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 20, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    This is my kind of summer pasta salad! So fresh and full of flavours!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks Angie! I agree – perfect summer dish!

  34. Swathi August 20, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Delicious and colorful pasta . My kids love pasta a lot. Adding fresh veggies will be a wonderful idea.

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks Swathi! the fresh veggies make this a very healthy and easy pasta to make. I bet your kids would love it.

  35. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) August 20, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    This pasta is so fresh and summery and my perfect perfect dish!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Thanks Kayle!

  36. john@kitchenriffs August 20, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    You’re so right that dried basil doesn’t work! It’s not worth buying. Terrific dish. I sometimes make something similar, but never with the olives. I really like that idea – I’ll definitely try it. And I agree with your choice of farfalle over linguine (or another long pasta shape) – when the ingredients are kinda chunky, I like my pasta chunky too! Really a terrific dish. Although you can never have too many green chile recipes for me!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      Thanks so much John! I’m not done with the green chile recipes. Just taking a short break. 🙂 I use to dry basil and found that I never used it. Now I blend it with some parsley and oil and freeze it in ice trays to use during the winter. Fresh basil in the winter is quite expensive here.

  37. Nancy/SpicieFoodie August 20, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Yes, I think I would love it! Your pasta is so fresh and I love how you take advantage of tomato season. Great recipe MJ!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks Nancy! I’m one of those people that can’t eat fresh tomatoes unless they are right off the vines, so yes, I definitely take advantage of tomato season. 🙂


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