I’ve been happily surprised by the quality of grocery store sweet corn this early in the season. Ours has been delicious as of late. This pasta is a somewhat surprising use for corn. It truly has the makings of pesto. Pine nuts-parmesean-garlic-olive oil. And then the corn. It creates a mildly sweet, silky sauce for the pasta. To round out those flavors, top with bacon, basil, and lots of fresh pepper.
Isn’t that just happiness on a plate?
I’m a bit of starch-on-starch kind of girl. While technically a vegetable, corn is pretty starch-heavy and can feel like a carb. Some people (who shall remain nameless) would complain if two carbs are present in a single meal (let alone a single dish). That person is not me. Bring on the mashed potatoes and biscuits and corn. I will not complain. I might even cheer a little bit.
I must warn you though: don’t try this on a weeknight when you’re busy. The corn must be shucked (messy), cut from the cob uncooked (messier) and transferred to a food processor after sautéing (messiest). You’ll have little bits of corn kernels all over your counter and your floor and probably some in your hair. Make this on a weekend.
linguine with fresh corn pesto
from Bon Appetit, August 2010
6 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces (½ of a 1 pound box) linguine
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided
Cook bacon in a skillet. Place bacon on paper towels to dry and pour off all but ~ 1 Tbsp of bacon grease. Add corn, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until corn is just tender, about 4 minutes.
Transfer 2 ½ cups corn kernels into a food processor. (Reserve the remaining corn to add whole at the end.) Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts to the corn in the food processor. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto and reserved corn kernels. Add pasta cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls to thin until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to serving dishes and sprinkle with remaining basil leaves and bacon. Grate additional parmesan over the top, if desired (and who wouldn’t desire extra cheese?).