Monday, August 1, 2011

Pasta with Sun Gold Tomatoes

    Prior to seeing this recipe by Mario Batali in Bon Appetit, I had never heard of a sun gold tomato and I was fairly certain that it would be close to impossible to find some.  I was determined to find sun golds so I could try this recipe because I love Batali, but I figured it would take me all summer to do so.  And then on Friday when I was walking around the farmers' market at Rockefeller Center there they were.  I couldn't believe it!  Suddenly I see them everywhere.  And not only do I see the tomatoes everywhere, I see recipes for them everywhere - pasta with sun gold tomatoes, sun gold tomato gazpacho, sun gold tomato salsa...  I can't wait to try more of them now that I know how amazing those little yellow/orange cherry tomatoes really are.  They are really sweet and just gorgeous.  I love how great the tomatoes are in mid to late summer.  The next time I run to the farmers' market I'm going to pick up a few more pints of sun golds so I can play with them a little more.  One pint is going to be set aside so I can make this recipe again.  Because this pasta is just as gorgeous as the little tomatoes themselves.  The best thing about many of Mario Batali's pasta recipes are so simple, and yet so delicious.  His Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil is the perfect example.  You don't need a ton of ingredients because the ingredients play off each other so harmoniously.  His pastas are far more than the sum of their parts.  In this pasta dish you have the ideal amount of sauce and toppings to coat the pasta while ensuring that the pasta itself can shine.  In each bite you can taste the sweet acidity of the tomatoes, the sweet basil, the heat of the crushed red pepper flakes and the salty Pecorino Romano cheese.  It's a perfect summery dish that really shows off the tomatoes, the basil and the pasta, all at the same time and all in perfect balance.
    Recipe after the jump!

    Pasta with Sun Gold Tomatoes
    Bon Appetit
    May 2011

    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    8 ounces Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes
    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    Kosher salt
    6 ounces capellini, spaghetti, or bucatini
    3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan
    8 medium fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
    Toasted breadcrumbs (for garnish; optional)
    Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes, season with salt, and cook, covered slightly and swirling pan often, until tomatoes blister and burst, 10-12 minutes. Press down on tomatoes to release their juices. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

    Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5 quart pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
    Transfer pasta to skillet with tomatoes; set over high heat. Add 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook, stirring and tossing often, until sauce thickens and begins to coat the pasta, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining oil, cheese, and half the basil and toss until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Add remaining basil, season with salt, and serve with breadcrumbs, if desired.

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