While all tomatoes have a place in my kitchen, I’m particularly enamored of these little jewels for their sweet, nuanced favor. Cooked until they just burst open, they’re then infused with a touch of fresh chile and a bright punch of lemon. Because this recipe is so simple, salt and pasta water are very much your friends here. Salting early and often helps break down the tomatoes, which enhances their favor and helps release their sweet juices. Saving the pasta water is also crucial. Its starch, coupled with the pecorino’s richness, binds and thickens the dish, melding all of the ingredients.
Bucatini with Spicy Summer Tomatoes
Athena Calderone, Cook Beautiful
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
3 pints cherry tomatoes, 1 pint halved
1 teaspoon finely diced habanero chile
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 pound dried bucatini
1⁄3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
2 ears raw corn
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, roughly chopped, plus more for serving
1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for serving
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is light golden, about 2 minutes. Add all of the tomatoes and chile. Season generously with salt. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in half the lemon zest and all the lemon juice. Continue to cook until most of the tomatoes have burst and begun to break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Set them aside and cover to keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini and cook according to the package directions until al dente.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the tomato mixture, pecorino, and 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the pasta water to the pot and toss to combine. Add additional pasta water, as needed, to make a light sauce. Stir in the fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Shuck 3 ears of corn raw into the pasta and ahandful of torn basil and toss before serving.
To serve, sprinkle the pasta with additional herbs, pepper, pecorino, and the remaining lemon zest.