Cherry tomato pasta with gremolata

Contributed by Benjamin Maring, MD

Cherry tomato pasta with gremolata

On weekends I love to hang around the kitchen longer and cook more leisurely dishes, like a slowly simmered stew or pasta sauce. Weeknights tend to feel like more of a rush, and getting dinner on the table in 15 or 20 minutes after getting home can be challenging, especially with a hungry child gracing the kitchen.

This dish takes about as long to whip together as it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. As the tomatoes soften, a delicately sweet and tangy sauce emerges. Oh, how I love summer vegetables!

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 8 ounces whole-grain pasta of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds or half-moons
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved**
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 or 4 strips of lemon peel, the less white pith the better (a vegetable peeler does the trick)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced 



  1. Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Season it with a few pinches of salt.
  2. To make the gremolata, simply mince the garlic, lemon peel, and parsley together.
  3. Heat a large pan over low heat and, while the pasta cooks, add the olive oil, garlic, parsley, red chili flakes, zucchini, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, a minute or two. 
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add a little splash of pasta water as needed to keep things on the saucy side. Stir in the drained pasta when it is al dente, or still has a little bite to it, and season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with the gremolata.

Quick tip: 

Cooks Illustrated magazine once taught me the easiest and coolest way to halve cherry tomatoes.

  1. Simply find two plastic container lids that are roughly the same size, the bigger the better. Invert one lid onto your cutting board and cover with one layer of tomatoes. 
  2. Place the other lid on top and, securing the lid-tomato sandwich with one hand, slice your knife in between the lids, uncover, and – voilà! – sliced tomatoes.

Adapted from Salt to Taste, by Marco Canora

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 340
  • Total fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 180 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Total sugars: 6 g
  • Protein: 9 g

Includes 1/4 teaspoon added salt.