Indulge in the flavors of summer with our heirloom tomato pasta recipe, topped with crunchy pangrattato and fresh basil. It’s a delightful celebration of fresh summer flavor that will leave you craving more.

Learn how to make this delicious dish, along with substitutions and variations, in our easy-to-follow guide.

a bowl of heirloom tomato pasta on a wood background.

Isn’t this heirloom tomato pasta gorgeous? The vibrant reds and yellows of the heirloom tomatoes pop next to the fresh basil and spaghetti. We enjoy this recipe weekly when tomatoes are at peak flavor in the summer. It’s similar to our Fresh Tomato Sauce Pasta, which has no cooked tomatoes and tons of garlic. We do love some pasta around here!

What is pangrattato

Pangrattato, also known as poor man’s parmesan, is an Italian breadcrumb topping traditionally used to add texture and flavor to pasta dishes. Made with toasted breadcrumbs and mixed seeds, it provides a tasty crunch and nutty taste that perfectly complements the heirloom tomato pasta.

Ingredients and tools needed

Scroll down for printable recipe with full ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

A bowl of heirloom tomatoes and spaghetti noodles and breadcrumbs.
  • Heirloom tomatoes – if you can, buy them locally and in season – they are so good!
  • Olive oil – divided and used in various steps in the recipe.
  • Yellow onion – peel and dice.
  • Garlic – make sure to slice thinly.
  • Tomato paste – helps to add that tomato sauce flavor.
  • Vegetable stock – a neutral flavor.
  • Spaghetti – the perfect noodles!
  • Balsamic vinegar – adds a touch of tang.
  • Sugar – just a pinch to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Salt and pepper – to taste.
  • Fresh basil – used as a garnish.
  • Mixed seeds – pine nuts and sunflower seeds work great.
  • White breadcrumbs – toasted.
  • Large baking dish – perfect for so many things!
  • Pasta pot – the best way to cook long pasta noodles.
  • Pasta ladle – helps when scooping and stirring noodles.
  • Pasta serving bowl – this elevates your dinner party!
  • Pasta serving dishes – we love these big, flat bowls for our pasta.

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Side view of a plate of heirloom tomato pasta.

Substitutions and variations

  • We used a selection of Heirloom tomatoes to make this dish; however, you can use any variety of tomato you like. We love mixing in some cherry tomatoes too. 
  • We used long spaghetti as the pasta element for this recipe. You can use any pasta you prefer.
  • Pangrattato is a fancy name for crispy breadcrumbs. It’s also known as “poor man’s parmesan.” We added mixed seeds to jazz the breadcrumb topping up a bit, but if you don’t have any seeds, you can leave them out and simply toast the breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can mix 1/4 cup of parmesan (or vegan hard cheese) with the crispy breadcrumbs, which are also really delicious.
  • Sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes and a little lemon zest before serving for a flavor boost. 
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How to make heirloom tomato pasta

This pasta is delicious with fresh heirloom tomatoes and a crispy pangrattato topping, but the best part is it’s also easy to make.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375° and prepare a large baking dish by spraying lightly with olive oil.

Step 2: Add the tomatoes

Chop up the tomatoes and then halve the smaller ones. Add them to the baking dish and drizzle olive oil on top. Add salt and pepper as needed. Place the tray in the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Step 3: Cook the spaghetti

Put a large pot of water on the stove (add salt to the water) and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles and cook pasta for 11 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 4: Cook the onions

Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the diced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the sliced garlic and tomato paste and cook for one more minute.

Step 5: Add the other ingredients to make the sauce

Add the stock, vinegar, sugar, and roasted tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Prepare the dish

Put the spaghetti into the sauce and toss. Serve on plates and sprinkle fresh basil and Pangrattato on top.

How to make pangrattato

Put oil in a small skillet and heat it. Add the seeds and the breadcrumbs. Toast them both until they’re golden brown. Remove from heat and add salt & pepper as needed.

If you don’t have a small skillet to toast the breadcrumbs, you can combine them with the mixed seeds and a drizzle of oil, put them on a small baking sheet, and into a hot oven for 3-4 minutes.

FAQs

How do you store the leftovers?

Heirloom Tomato Pasta is best eaten fresh as soon as it’s made. However, it will keep for three days in the refrigerator. The pasta will soak up a lot of the sauce, so if you need to reheat a portion, you can do so in a pan on the stove and add a splash of water if it looks a little dry.

Can you freeze this recipe?

I do not recommend freezing this heirloom tomato pasta recipe.

More tips for this recipe

  • As you can see from the images – in their raw form, the heirloom tomatoes come in a beautiful variety of colors, sizes, and textures. However, when we roast the tomatoes, they cook down and make a delicious sauce but lose their shape and color once roasted. So if you’re making this for a special occasion, it might be a good idea to reserve a small number of uncooked tomatoes in different colors and then add them to the top of the finished dish.
  • To make breadcrumbs, take a small loaf of stale bread and cut the crusts off, and put it into a food processor. Process until breadcrumbs. We find sourdough tastes best for this, but any white bread works.
  • Learn how to grow your own heirloom tomatoes and you’ll have the freshest ones available!
a dish of heirloom tomato pasta topped with fresh basil.

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5 from 1 vote

Heirloom Tomato Pasta

Indulge in the flavors of summer with our heirloom tomato pasta recipe, topped with crunchy pangrattato and fresh basil.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Save This Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (not crushed)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil

For the Pangrattato

  • ½ cup mixed seeds (such as pine nuts or sunflower seeds)
  • ¾ cup white breadcrumbs
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly spray a large baking dish with olive oil.
  • Roughly chop the larger heirloom tomatoes and cut the smaller ones in half. Put them in the baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the tomatoes are roasted.
  • When 10 minutes have passed, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the spaghetti, and cook for 11 minutes or until al dente. Then drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened. Add the sliced garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 additional minute.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, and sugar to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Pangrattato

  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a small skillet and add the mixed seeds and breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will quickly soak up the oil. Toast the breadcrumbs and seeds in the skillet until golden brown. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly

  • To assemble the dish, add the spaghetti directly to the sauce and toss to combine. Transfer to pasta bowls or plates and sprinkle with fresh basil and Pangrattato to serve.

Notes

  • We used a selection of heirloom tomatoes to make this dish; however, you can use any variety of tomatoes you like. We love mixing in some cherry tomatoes too.
  • We used long spaghetti as the pasta element for this recipe. You can use any pasta you prefer.
  • Pangrattato is a fancy name for crispy breadcrumbs. It’s also known as “poor man’s parmesan.” We added mixed seeds to jazz the breadcrumb topping up a bit, but if you don’t have any seeds, you can leave them out and simply toast the breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can mix 1/4 cup of parmesan (or vegan hard cheese) with the crispy breadcrumbs, which are also really delicious.
  • If you don’t have a small skillet to toast the breadcrumbs, you can combine them with the mixed seeds and a drizzle of oil, put them on a small baking sheet, and into a hot oven for 3-4 minutes.
  • Heirloom Tomato Pasta is best eaten fresh as soon as it’s made. However, it will keep for three days in the refrigerator. The pasta will soak up a lot of the sauce, so if you need to reheat a portion, you can do so in a pan on the stove and add a splash of water if it looks a little dry.

Nutrition

Calories: 756kcal, Carbohydrates: 119g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 498mg, Potassium: 981mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 1731IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 99mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian-American
Calories: 756
Keyword: heirloom tomato pasta
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About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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