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Author Notes: 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
- 1 carton Sun Gold tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (good quality)
- Sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups Molloni (“big springs”) pasta
- 1 cup fresh English peas
- 2 slices Virginia ham
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup pasta water
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cherry Tomatoes