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pasta with fresh corn pesto

October 5, 2010

My mom makes pesto every year. In the summer, when the basil’s fresh, she grinds up ginormously huge batches of it and freezes it in little individual containers, so that whenever we want pesto during the rest of the year, we just defrost some of that summer’s batch. I’ve been completely obsessed with that pesto since I was little and decided I hated tomato sauce. (We’ve since made up, but we’re still on shaky ground.)

Because of that, I’ve been very suspicious of, if not downright hostile toward, all those other incarnations of pesto that all those sandwich lines try to pawn off on you—especially sundried tomato (blech) and cilantro (blechhhh). Blasphemy, I tell you!

Yep, I took a bacon glamor shot.
However, this version was just “what the what?” enough to entice me into making it. I mean, it includes nothing I don’t like, and you get to grind up new things in the food processor? I’m there! Like many people said in their comments on the original epicurious posting, this ended up being a surprisingly-creamy dish, considering there’s no milk product in it, and the bacon did a really great job of cutting through the sweetness of the corn and making it into more of a main dish. Next time, I think I might double the bacon, just so there’s some in every bite, but you might not want to do that if you don’t like bacon (in which case, what are you doing here?).

Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto
4 bacon slices [or 8 if you want to double it], 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
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. [we used 16 oz., no way would 8 oz. be enough for 4 the way we eat] pasta
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, coarse salt, and black pepper to drippings in skillet. Saute over medium-high heat until corn is just 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 food tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.
2. 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. [And by that I hope they mean drain until you’re too lazy to get out the last bits of water and leave it in there instead of reserving extra water. Coz that’s what I did.] Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 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 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Epicurious

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