Fettuccine with Cherry Tomatoes and Watercress

Succulent little cherry tomatoes know no season, so you can enjoy this fresh-tasting no-cook pasta sauce any time of year. Marinate the tomatoes for at least the time it takes to boil the water and cook the fettuccine; the longer you let them sit, the better the sauce will be.

Slideshow:Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 quart)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thin-sliced basil leaves or chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 pound fettuccine
  • 2 bunches watercress (about 10 ounces in all), tough stems removed (about 5 cups)

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, and basil. Set the mixture aside.

  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain, return to the hot pan, and toss with the tomato mixture, the watercress, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.


Use five cups of shredded arugula leaves instead of the watercress.

If you have lovely ripe summer tomatoes, substitute them for the cherry tomatoes.

For a more colorful version, use spinach fettuccine instead of regular. The taste will be just slightly different.

Serve the pasta with a little bit of goat cheese crumbled over the top.

Suggested Pairing

With its fresh tomatoes and peppery watercress, this pasta requires a crisp, light red to bring out its best. See if you can find a rosé-like Grignolino from the Piedmont region of Italy. If not, a Valpolicella or Bardolino, both from the Veneto, will do nicely.

Photo © Todd Porter & Diane Cu Published February 2014

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