This dish epitomizes the laziness of summer: It’s as simple as folding a handful of fresh ingredients into cooked pasta. Use the ripest tomatoes you can find and you’ll be rewarded with a flavorful sauce that gives cooked tomato sauce a run for its money.

What to buy: Heirloom tomatoes make this dish extra tasty, but it can also be made with ripe grape tomatoes.

Orecchiette are an ideal match for this dish because they hold the sauce perfectly. If you can’t find them, use penne rigate, farfalle, campanelle, gigli, or gemelli.

Game plan: The tomatoes get tastier the longer they sit, so if you have time, you can complete step 1 up to 3 hours before serving. If not, the dish will still be delicious, but you’ll probably need a little pasta cooking water to help things along. And remember not to refrigerate the tomatoes, which will degrade their flavor and texture.

This recipe was featured as part of our Cooking with Summer Ingredients story, as well as our Easy Weeknight Dinners and Tomatoes! recipe galleries.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 20 mins, plus marinating time 
  • Active: 20 mins 

Ingredients (9)

  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup crumbled feta


  1. Cut tomatoes into small dice. Combine tomatoes and any accumulated juices with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large nonreactive bowl, stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.
  2. When tomatoes are ready, add olives, basil, and garlic and mix until well combined. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. (If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.)
  3. Toss warm pasta with tomato mixture, adding pasta cooking water as needed. Fold in feta and serve.