Like everyone else, it seems, I am slightly obsessed with summer tomatoes. And while I sampled a fair few this summer, one variety emerged the clear winner. Sun Gold. Oh, Sun Gold. Even the name evokes summer. They are perfect for the season in every way—sweet, bite-sized and lustrously colored. They require no alterations, to be sure, but I found that pan roasting them with a little olive oil and maple syrup unveils a deeper flavor. It also creates a rich and honeyed tomato jus—fantastic on top of the carbonara sauce. I’m a fan of this carbonara recipe because while it satisfies a craving for creaminess, it is not overly heavy. The Molloni’s large spirals capably capture the sunny, runny sauce. (If you can’t find Molloni, I like orecchietti, too). Finally, peas and barely-warm ham impart added freshness. —Cristina Sciarra
Heat oven to 375°F. Set one small pot, and one medium pot, of salted water to boil. In an oven-safe pan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat.
Clean and dry tomatoes. When the olive oil is warm, add tomatoes, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes, and then add the maple syrup. Stir to coat evenly, and then move to the oven. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until the tomatoes are just bursting open. Turn off the oven, but keep the tomatoes inside.
In the small pot, blanche peas for just a few minutes, until they are bright green but not at all mushy. (I suggest cooking them in a sieve, so you can pull then out of the water quickly). Set aside.
Cut Virginia ham into little squares. Set aside.
In the medium pot, boil Molloni until al dente. Drain, but reserve ½ cup pasta water. When drained, return pasta to pot with 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water.
In a small bowl, beat your eggs. Add the cheese slowly, stirring consistently. Add cracked black pepper.
Empty the egg mixture into the pasta pot, making sure to stir continuously, so the egg does not set. Add more pasta water as you stir, until a creamy sauce forms. (Obviously the more water you add, the runnier your sauce will be, so adjust to your preferences).
Gently stir in peas and ham, and then distribute pasta into bowls.
Finish by ladling the tomatoes, as well as tomato jus, on top of pasta. Serve immediately.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.