Although heirlooms get all the glory this time of year, not all tomato hybrids are inherently evil. Take the insanely sweet Sun Gold variety, for example. No less a member of the tomato cognoscenti than Mario Batali is a big fan. At Babbo, he tosses them by the wagonload with garlic and lemon basil into a thicket of bavette. It’s a cinch to prepare—the only real skill required is a resolve not to pop all those delicious cherry tomatoes into your mouth before the pan heats up.
Babbo’s Bavette With Sun Gold Tomatoes
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pints Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, whole
1/2 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
12 fresh lemon-basil leaves, finely shredded
1 lb. bavette (or linguine or spaghetti—Benedetto Cavalieri spaghettoni works nicely)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add salt. In a 12-to-14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Cook for two minutes or until softened and slightly browned. (1) Add the tomatoes, chives, and basil, and cook over high heat until the tomatoes are just beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper. (2) Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and add it to the pan with the tomatoes. Toss over high heat for one minute, (3) then divide among four warmed pasta bowls and serve immediately.