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It's excruciating to wait for tomatoes to come into season. So when I found ripe little Sun Golds looking beautiful at the market, I wanted to celebrate. I dreamt of a dish that would highlight the unique character of the little tomatoes, putting them at the center of the plate. Of course, that recipe already exists. Mario Batali's Spaghetti al Pomodoro recipe nails the simplistic route, cooking the tomatoes until they burst open and unleash their juices, creating a seductively sweet and acidic sauce. Just writing that sentence makes my heart skip a beat. But could I take the premise of the recipe and twist it a bit?
At first, adding a vegetable sounded like the way to go. But no matter what I thought about using, I realized it would play second fiddle to the dynamic Sun Golds. How could anything else compete? If I added an ingredient, I wanted it to be essential, not just something to bulk the dish out. Instead of a vegetable, I hit upon the idea of adding texture. That led me to one of the great unsung pasta additions of the world: bread crumbs. Stale bread can be transformed into golden crunchy nuggets, helping to enliven each bite.
I also sprinkled in a bit of red pepper flake, just to give the sauce a faint heat. But mostly, this is still about celebrating in-season Sun Golds, which is the way it should be.