Recipes / Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce

Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce

By Mark Bittman

Published February 8, 2024

I love eating—and saying—salsa cruda, Italian for “raw sauce.” In peak summer this fresh tomato sauce is unbeatable, and absurdly easy to make. You can also serve it alongside fried or grilled fish (or potato chips, for that matter), on top of polenta, or anywhere you’d use a fresh salsa or relish.

Photo: Aya Brackett
Photo: Aya Brackett
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Make The Recipe!

Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce

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Makes about 4 servings 1x

Time about 30 minutes

Units Scale


  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, or more to taste
  • 1 pound linguine or other long pasta
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Gently smash the garlic with the flat side of a wide knife.
  2. Put the tomatoes, oil, some salt and pepper, the garlic, and some of the basil in a large shallow bowl. Mash together well, using a fork or potato masher, but do not purée. (At this point, you can let the sauce rest at room temperature for an hour or 2.)
  3. Cook the pasta until it’s tender but not mushy; start tasting after 5 minutes. When it’s done, drain it, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta cooking water to the sauce to thin and warm it a bit. Remove the garlic. Toss the pasta with the sauce; taste and adjust the seasoning. Top with the remaining basil and serve, passing the Parmesan at the table if you’re using it.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition