Recipe Review

I Tried The Pasta Queen’s No-Cook Tomato Sauce and It’s My New Summer Go-To

published Jul 21, 2022
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pasta queen sicilian summer pasta
Credit: Meredith Schwartz

I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m a bit of a pasta snob. If I’m going to commit to making a pasta recipe, the pasta should always be cooked to al dente in heavily salted water, and the sauce must be finished with starchy pasta water — or the “tears of the Gods,” as The Pasta Queen refers to it. She’s someone I trust whole-heartedly. I can always rely on the endless stream of pasta-night inspo on her Instagram page to check all those boxes. 

Her latest dish to catch my eye puts a seasonal twist on traditional pesto. She calls it “Sicilian Summer.” Tomato, basil, and garlic are met with pecorino cheese, ricotta, and herby breadcrumbs in a food processor to form a creamy-yet-light, no-cook summer pasta sauce. It seemed too easy and delicious not to make, so I took to my kitchen and followed suit.

Get the recipe: The Pasta Queen’s Sicilian Summer Pasta

How To Make Pasta Queen’s Sicilian Summer Pasta

First and foremost, make sure to bring a pot of water to a boil. While that’s rolling, start the sauce by seeding a few plump tomatoes (think: one medium tomato per person). Blitz them in a food processor along with a handful of basil leaves, two garlic cloves, a few thin slices of Pecorino cheese fresh off of the block, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stream in some extra olive oil while pulsing the ingredients into a loose paste. Next, add a heaping spoonful of ricotta cheese and a scant 1/4 cup of coarse seasoned breadcrumbs and pulse until just combined. 

Once the water is boiling, season it heavily with salt and drop in the pasta to cook until very al dente. (The pasta will finish cooking with the sauce in a skillet.) Use tongs or a spider strainer to transfer the pasta to a large skillet, then pour in the sauce followed by small ladle of pasta water. Toss to combine over low heat. Finish your plate with the prettiest basil leaf of the bunch and there you have it!

My Honest Review of The Pasta Queen’s Sicilian Summer Tomato Sauce

The Pasta Queen does it again! All in all, this dish delivers all of the summer flavor I could ask for, bundled into one perfect bowl of pasta. It has the fresh flavor of summer bruschetta and the creamy texture of vodka sauce — a match made in pasta sauce heaven, if you ask me. In fact, the sauce is so good, you don’t even need pasta. My next move: slathering it on a piece of toast with a pile of arugula on top.

Garlic mellows in flavor as it cooks, so the raw garlic in this sauce packs a serious punch. If you’re sensitive to alliums, feel free to cut back to one clove or leave it out entirely. I have no doubt it’d be equally as delicious!

Credit: Meredith Schwartz

3 Tips for Making The Pasta Queen’s Sicilian Summer Tomato Sauce

  1. To keep the sauce as fresh as possible, make your own breadcrumbs. I feared that store-bought breadcrumbs would be too fine, so I used focaccia crisps that I found at the store and crushed them up with oregano. Stale bread or croutons would work, too. 
  2. Make sure to use a pasta shape with lots of nooks and crannies. I was able to find a bag of busiate, the shape Nadia uses, but it is a rare cut. Other shapes that would work well are fusilli, triofe, gemelli, strozzapreti, radiatore, and campanelle.
  3. Always taste the pasta water for salt before adding in the pasta. Use a spoon to taste a touch of the water — it should be almost as salty as the ocean. This ensures that every bit of the pasta is well-seasoned.