Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

posted in: Main Dish, Pasta        date:
Corn Pesto Pasta

I’ve mentioned before how much I love all the fresh food Virginia has to offer.  As much as I miss my local Florida oranges, it’s nice to actually live in a state that has a lot of agriculture.  It has really had an impact on how Eric and I eat.  Not only are we able to eat fresh, seasonal ingredients, but we’re able to purchase them from local farmers.  Corn has been in abundance here, so we purchased several ears of it at the farmer’s market.  Not wanting to have corn on the cob every night, I looked through my saved recipes and found one in my most recent issue of Bon Appétit.

This pasta is simply amazing.  The pesto is made by replacing the traditional basil with corn kernels.  The magazine describes this dish as having a creaminess reminiscent of a carbonara, and that’s a spot-on description.  The finished dish is topped with bacon, basil leaves and grated Parmesan, which actually gives it a look similar to a carbonara.  The sweet corn makes a wonderful pesto, and some kernels are left whole for added texture.  Overall, the dish has a wonderfully fresh taste, with the saltiness of the bacon pairing well with the sweetness of the corn.  We enjoyed this dish so much that we made it again the next week.  Since that rarely happens, that should tell you a lot about how delicious this pasta dish is.  Make it while corn is still in season, and you’ll be happy you did.

Corn Pesto Pasta

Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto
4 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 tagliatelle or fettuccine
3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, divided

-Cook bacon in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until brown and crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
-Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet.
-Add corn, garlic, salt and pepper to skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until corn is tender but not brown, about 4 minutes.
-Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to a bowl and set aside.  Place remaining kernels in bowl of food processor.
-Add Parmesan and pine nuts to corn kernels.  With machine running, slowly add olive oil and process until pesto is almost smooth.  Set aside.
-Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water.
-Add pasta back to pot along with pesto, reserved corn kernels and 1/2 cup basil leaves.
-Toss pasta over medium heat until warmed through, adding pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
-Transfer pasta to serving dishes and sprinkle with bacon, Parmesan and remaining basil leaves.

3 entree servings
6 first course servings

Adapted from Bon Appétit, August 2010

  • Jen

    I also saw this in Bon Apettite and was wary of the corn-factor. Since you gave it such a raving review, I'm more open to trying it out. Corn season is going strong in Ohio, too.