Fresh Corn Pesto Pasta

Run and get the last of summer's corn! Don't worry about getting too much, because I am going to tell you what to do with it. You can make this amazingly delicious fresh corn pesto, and then freeze it! Use it for a dip, or to go with pasta, or as a topping to soup. Imagine scratching your head over what to have for dinner in the coming months, and then pulling little pesto packages out of the freezer that help you put together a great meal.

I have to say, it takes a lot to convince me to shuck thirteen ears of corn and then saw off the kernels (I doubled the recipe, which is why thirteen ears of corn were in order). This recipe, which had been bookmarked for a year, finally wooed me. At the farmer's market veggie stand, the farmer/seller had a lovely homemade sign reading: "Sweet Corn: $6 Baker's Dozen." Sold.

Lugging my bounty home, I got to work. I was pretty excited about corn pesto, but little did I know how addictive it would be. The ingredients are in line with traditional basil pesto: pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil. If the price of pine nuts scares you (as it normally does me), almonds would be a good substitute.

The original recipe from Bon Appetit uses bacon fat and bacon. I love the smokiness that the bacon fat offers, but I found myself imagining the dish with seafood instead of bacon. In the second go-around, I still sauteed the corn with bacon fat, but I replaced the bacon with a mixture of scallops, shrimp, and squid. It was great. (By the way, next time you make bacon, save the fat in a jar and store it in the fridge. It's a stable fat and will last for months, and it can be used sparingly to add oodles of flavor to black beans, tortillas, and any other dish you want to taste a bit smoky).

Here's the recipe; let me know if you make it and love it as much as I do. I wouldn't dare dry this with frozen corn. It just wouldn't be worth it.

Fresh Corn Pesto Pasta
Adapted from Bon Appetit August 2010
Serves 6

4 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 cups seafood (shrimp, scallops, etc.)
Cook bacon over medium heat in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain over paper towels; reserve fat in skillet. (If using seafood, steam and reserve).

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

Add to bacon fat and cook over medium high heat until corn is tender but not brown. Reserve 1 cup (if you want a textured pesto), and transfer the rest to food processor or blender.

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Add the Parmesan and pine nuts to the food processor, and while the machine is running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube.

8 ounces whole grain tagliatelle or fettuccine
Cook pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Toss pasta with pasta water, pesto, reserved corn, and seafood (if using). Garnish with reserved bacon (if using).

Printable Recipe

Other posts you may enjoy:

Remembering Last Summer: Pesto Pasta

Pasta Party


LynnaeEtta said…
wow, Becky, this sounds incredibly tasty! corn and bacon, hmm....

we've got a TON of corn from our last CSA, and I bet we'll get more this week. I froze a bunch of it this week; do you think it would be useable for this recipe?
Rebekah Kuk said…
I'm sure the fresh corn you froze would work well, since it was only just frozen. Go for it!