Quick Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce for a Late Night Dinner

Cherry tomatoes for fresh tomato pasta

I recently started writing for a sketch comedy team at the Pit in NYC. We write late, and rehearse later. Consequently, I’m staggering home at 11pm, lacking the energy to tackle any significant cooking, or indeed, any significant eating.

You know, the kind of extreme laziness that makes crunching through a bowl of muesli or a crisp spinach salad seem like a step too far.

Luckily New York, the fabled city that never sleeps, literally never sleeps. On my walk home I pass pizza joints, burger places, a 24 hour French Cafe, a couple of falafel hole in the walls, a famous hot dog shop, a couple of Thai noodle restaurants and sushi counters.

The only problem? Sometimes I’m too sleepy to be decisive, and walk past all of them wondering about what I’d like for dinner, only to find myself back at home, standing by the fridge wondering the same thing.

It’s time for breakfast for dinner food, scrambled eggs on toast, bacon sandwiches. Toasted things: crumpets, scotch pancakes, tea cakes, marmite on toast with a slice of tomato (my mum’s favourite no-time dinner). For quick cooking noodles with a splash of sesame oil, a handful of rocket, and a few red chili flakes. A mug of tomato soup. Or this easy, superfast fresh tomato pasta.

  • Boil a kettle of water, pour into a pan, salt liberally then add pasta – go with something thin like Angel Hair, or small, like ditilini, or fresh like tagliatelle – that cooks in under 5 mins flat
  • Grab a handful of cherry tomatoes and put in the processor. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and a glug of olive oil – good olive oil. Blend to a puree
  • Toss the drained pasta with the tomato puree. Add extra black pepper and Parmesan if you like. Eat. 

If you want to / have time to fancy it up a bit

  • Add half a clove of garlic to the processor and blend in with the tomatoes
  • Add half a clove of garlic to the processor, a couple of anchovies, a few tsp of capers and a pinch of chili flakes
  • Or just a pinch of chili flakes
  • Throw some frozen peas in with the pasta water
  • Stir a few handfuls of rocket into the hot drained pasta, clamp the pan lid on and let them wilt for a minute
  • Top the dish with: olives, a few slices of Palma Ham, a handful of spinach, some slivered almonds or toasted pinenuts, some torn mozzarella  a sliced artichoke (from a jar) or a few sundried tomatoes
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