Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fresh Corn Pesto!

I am the very lucky recipient of a gift subscription to bon appetit, courtesy of my generous and lovely sister! The August issue featured lots of recipes for creative uses of corn, tomatoes, and zucchini. Some seemed a little too creative (Tomato Tarte Tatin, for example, which involves sugar, vanilla, and puff pastry)... and some a little too labor intensive (like the Shaved Zucchini Salad, which requires turning two pounds of zucchini into ribbons with a vegetable peeler)... but the Fresh Corn Pesto looked reasonably straightforward, I had fresh corn on hand from the CSA box, bacon was on the ingredient list, and the recommended vehicle for the recipe was pasta. I figured I couldn't really go wrong. Besides, my immersion blender (also courtesy of Elspeth) has an attachment that is just perfect for any pesto-like creations.

Happily, my bowl of Fresh Corn Pesto, served on pasta, looked nearly identical to what is pictured in the magazine - and tasted delicious, too! I took the leftovers for lunch the next day and they heated up in the microwave just fine.

Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto (serves 6)
* I cut the recipe in half, and served it on fettucine.

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 tsp coarse kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, salt and pepper to drippings in skillet. Saute over medium high heat until corn is tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts. 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 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 miutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

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