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Grated Tomato and Miso-Butter Pasta

Decorative bowl of tomato pasta on a red striped tablecloth.
Photograph by Isa Zapata, Food Styling by Sean Dooley, Prop Styling by Marina Bevilacqua

It turns out that the best no-cook pasta sauce…is a little bit cooked. There’s a reason classic marinara takes an hour on the stove, or tomato paste (itself a long-cooked and deeply concentrated tomato product) is such a beloved sauce ingredient—tomatoes are simply better when their bright, acidic sweetness hangs out in a hot pan for a while. But peak summer tomatoes are close to perfect straight from the farmers market, and the last thing I want to do on a hot evening is spend hours stirring a bubbling pot of sauce. So to get the best of both worlds, we’re making a deeply savory tomato pasta that’s extremely fast and almost no-cook.

For this recipe you won’t even need to break out a knife and cutting board; all of the prep action happens with a box grater. Grating tomatoes creates a juicy pulp that’s fresh and vegetal—cook that down in a high-sided skillet (to catch any spatters; a Dutch oven works too) for just a few minutes, then add fish sauce and miso for a one-two punch of powerfully savory flavors (and also all the salt you’ll need, which is why you won’t find any here). The pasta gets finished off with black pepper and butter, which combines with the miso to create a velvety texture. Don’t be fooled by the pale color of the sauce: It packs a wallop and will be one you’ll return to as long as tomatoes are at their ripest.

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What you’ll need


4 servings


lb. medium pasta (such as gemelli or casarecce)

Kosher salt


lb. ripe tomatoes (3–4 large)


Tbsp. fish sauce


Tbsp. white miso


Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

Thinly sliced seasoned toasted seaweed snacks and torn basil leaves (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Cook 1 lb. medium pasta (such as gemelli or casarecce) in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, slice a thin round off the bottoms of 2 lb. ripe tomatoes (3–4 large). Starting at cut end, grate each tomato on the large holes of a box grater into a medium bowl until all that’s left is the flattened tomato skin and stem; discard skins and stems.

    Step 3

    Mix 2 Tbsp. fish sauce and 3 Tbsp. white miso in a small bowl until smooth.

    Step 4

    Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add grated tomatoes along with any liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly reduced, 5–7 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

    Step 5

    Add pasta, 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring often and adding reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until butter is melted and pasta is coated, about 1 minute.

    Step 6

    Divide pasta among bowls and top with thinly sliced seasoned toasted seaweed snacks and torn basil leaves.

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  • Damn, it's true- this is really simple, super flavorful. Probably the best fast tomato sauce I've made (to use up too many heirloom tomatoes that were sitting on the counter...) I actually love the grating because it was such an easy way to take raw tomatoes out of their skins and not get skin chunks into the sauce-- I will remember this trick.

    • ML Character

    • Los Angeles

    • 10/18/2022

  • Nice, quick late summer meal. Box grater was not necessary and pretty messy. A rough chop followed by a dance with a potato masher worked well. Added some silkiness by tossing in a cup of pork bone broth. We will make this again.

    • waestrom

    • Bellingham, WA

    • 9/21/2022

  • Very very good. I used trofie pasta which was perfect for picking up the sauce. I also used a mix of beefsteak and romas. I want to make this every night while the tomatoes are in season.

    • Anonymous

    • Canada

    • 9/12/2022

  • Made tonight- was tasty for sure, could definitely benefit from some well-browned tomato paste.

    • Jack & Kate

    • New Orleans, LA

    • 9/1/2022

  • Wow. The true definition of "more than a sum of its parts." Inventive ways to use familiar ingredients, so easy, and wildly good.

    • Anonymous

    • Washington, DC

    • 8/27/2022

  • Grated 4 cloves of garlic before adding the tomato sauce and added a dash of red wine. Simple weeknight meal. Delicious!!

    • Anonymous

    • Pittsburgh

    • 8/23/2022