No longer relegated to salad bars, cherry tomatoes are now available in countless varieties. In New York City and throughout the Northeast, their primary season arrives towards the end of summer, bordering on autumn. Sungold cherry tomatoes have just begun appearing at local farmers’ markets and offer an early preview of the season to come.
Sungold cherry tomatoes are indeterminate hybrid cherry tomatoes. Its golden-colored fruits weigh about a half-ounce each. Their flavor is very sweet, with just enough acidity for balance. Tomatoes remain firmer when ripe than do most cherry tomatoes. While the vines are capable of growing to more than 7 feet tall, 4- to 5-foot plants are more typical.
Penne pasta with Sungold cherry tomato sauce
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dried penne pasta
1 cup Sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of freshly milled black pepper
a handful of Italian parsley, chopped
fried breadcrumbs (optional)
pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a roiling boil. Add 1 T. kosher salt, along with the pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water.
Make the sauce as the pasta cooks. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add cherry tomatoes to the pan. Sauté briefly until tomatoes begin to exude their juice, about 2 minutes. You don’t want to cook them too much — just enough to wilt them. Remove from heat. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in chopped parsley.
Combine penne with tomatoes. Toss, ensuring that pasta is well-coated with the tomato sauce. Taste for salt once more, stir in fried breadcrumbs and/or cheese, then serve at once.
Time: 15 minutes, including prep.