Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, set aside 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes; cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 10 minutes or until tomato skins burst and tomatoes start to collapse. Add cooked pasta, reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid, butter, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to combine. Top with cheese, basil, and red pepper, if desired.