Ha, bet that got your attention!  It was a bit sneaky and underhanded but I think you will thank me in the end.  Summer means fresh corn on the cob.  For as long as I can remember we have been cooking our corn in a pot of water.  A dash of sugar, a splash of milk or cream, bring the water to a boil, in goes the corn, a couple of minutes later-done.  It took my daughter to get us to try something new, to think outside the pot if you will.  GRILLED CORN.  Yes it takes longer, is a bit more work as you need to turn the corn every few minutes to develop a nice char, but WOW.  It is so worth it!  Grilling intensifies the flavor of the corn and the char or grill marks turn otherwise monotone cobs into something sexy and edgy. See, corn porn!

Grilled corn deserves more than just a sprinkle of salt and a pat of butter.  Don’t get me wrong I love buttered corn on the cob but its delicious with a squeeze of lime and spicy mayo, or a dash of chili powder and cumin topped with cotija cheese or hubby’s favorite, a smear of pesto and sprinkling of parmesan.  Can you say YUM?

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We also use grilled corn in this lovely pasta dish I found on the blog SpoonForkBacon, Sweet Corn Pesto with Pappardelle and Zucchini Noodles.  Easy and quick, the recipe calls for corn two ways, ground into a thick pesto with almonds (or use pine nuts) and parmesan cheese. Pieces of grilled corn are tossed in at the end.  We jazzed it up by adding some crispy bacon (I don’t think the bloggers of SpoonForkBacon will mind) and chili pepper flakes.  If you want to keep this meatless add sautéed mushrooms instead of bacon.  The pesto is quite thick so reserve the pasta cooking water to thin it down.  Adding zucchini strands not only lightens the dish considerably but adds a bit of color.

Corn Porn (Sweet Corn Pesto with Pappardelle)

Corn Porn (Sweet Corn Pesto with Pappardelle)

Ingredients

    Sweet corn pesto:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon diced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1 heaping cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise (use a mandolin or a potato peeler for long, thin strips)
  • 8 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • 1/2 cup charred corn kernels (off your grilled corn on the cob!)
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves or cilantro

Instructions

    For pesto:
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, corn, chili flakes and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Allow mixture to cool, about 5 minutes. Add oil and almonds and pulse until mixture is evenly and finely ground. Remove to a small bowl.
  • Fold in Parmesan and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  • For pasta:
  • Place zucchini strips onto a baking sheet (will probably need a couple) lined with a cooling rack. Lightly sprinkle each strip with kosher salt and set aside. Allow zucchini to “sweat” for about 15 minutes.
  • While zucchini ‘sweats’, cook pasta. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a handful of salt and pasta and boil for 5 to 7 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally.
  • Drain pasta (reserve cooking water) into a colander and add salted zucchini strips. Gently toss together.
  • Transfer pesto to a large mixing bowl (add a bit of the reserved pasta water, start with 1/4 cup) and top with pasta and zucchini noodles. Toss together until all the noodles are coated and evenly mixed together. Use additional pasta water if it seems dry.
  • Add corn and basil or cilantro and adjust seasonings.
  • Gently toss together, top with bacon and additional basil, serve immediately.
  • Pass additional parmesan.
  • Makes 3-4 servings
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!