Here’s How to Make Katie’s Effortless Pasta Recipe

Katie´s pasta recipe bowl

Could this be any easier?

The best things in life may be free, but we’d argue that some of the other best things in life are easy. That’s certainly the case with Katie’s go-to pasta dish, which has all the makings of an anytime lunch or dinner that doesn’t require you to stand by a stove. Best of all, it’s made almost entirely from ingredients you probably have on hand in your kitchen right now, and doesn’t involve any complicated techniques. In short, this is the meal you’ll want to make tonight, or whenever you need to throw something on the table in a snap.

Instead of focusing on a complicated sauce you stir endlessly, this recipe has the heat from the pasta “cook” the other ingredients. So you’ll just do a bit of chopping and tossing, then let the pasta do the work. Alter the ingredients to taste — this is a recipe that thrives on experimentation. Craving some heat? Add in a few shakes of red-pepper flakes. Want more garlic? Go nuts. Love fresh basil? Throw in a torn handful right at the end.

Want to see some other Katie-approved dinner options? Here’s some ultra-simple, ultra-delicious recipes.

Here’s all you have to do to make this basic pasta:

Collect a few cups of small tomatoes: Katie likes sungold and wild tomatoes for the mix of colors, but you can use any you find at the grocery store, including small grape or cherry tomatoes. You want them to be bite-size, so the smaller the better here. Add them to a large bowl, cutting the larger tomatoes in half.

Then mince up a few cloves of garlic, and add those to the bowl as well. Add in a few glugs of good olive oil (¼ cup would work, but feel free to scale up or down), some grinds of fresh salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar. Just trust us. Mix that all together gently with a big spoon.

Now comes the tough part: You wait. Let the mixture sit on the counter for a few hours, so it has time for the flavors to meld. 

Cook the pasta (leftovers will be amazing, so go ahead and make extra): Katie likes linguini but spaghetti or bucatini would work well, or even bowties. When it’s fully cooked, save a cup of pasta water and set it aside. Drain, and then immediately add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the tomato mixture.

Toss the whole thing together gently and top with a shower of Parmesan, some torn basil leaves, or whatever else feels right to you. (Toasted pine nuts would be pretty spectacular here.) Add in the pasta water in small increments gradually, until everything becomes a bit more saucy — but stop when the water is no longer being absorbed. We don’t want the mixture to be wet.

It’s an effortless dinner that’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You can pretend it took tons of effort.