Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fettuccine with Fresh Corn Pesto

One thing I look forward to every summer is fresh corn. We eat corn year round, but when it isn't in season, I result to the frozen variety. It is most definitely not the same, and to me nothing beats the taste of fresh corn on the cob grilled with just a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Delicious! 
Since right now is prime corn season, and you can get it for fairly cheap at the local grocery stores, farmer's markets, and even road side stands, I keep my eyes open for recipes that use a good amount of it.

Looking through the newest edition of bon appetit magazine, this recipe caught my eye. Corn pesto? Now, this was a new one to me. I've made all kinds of pesto before. From the classic with basil and pine nuts, to sun dried tomato pesto and even a Walnut Pesto, which was featured on this blog before. They are all delicious, and each one lends itself to so many different applications. It is certainly one of my favorite condiments to use. So back to the Corn Pesto which had peaked my interested. It is very reminiscent of a classic basil pesto with the pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil, but also very different at the same time.

The recipe starts by crisping up some bacon. The fresh corn which is cut off the cobs (I used this gadget which works like a dream), is then sauteed in some of the left over bacon grease along with garlic. Some of the cooked corn is set aside, while the rest is added to a food processor along with freshly grated Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. While processing, olive oil is added through the feed tube and the mixture is blended until almost smooth.  Once the pasta is cooked, the corn pesto along with the reserved cooked corn and fresh basil is added. Cooking water from the pasta will help to achieve the desired consistency of the dish.  Finally, the pasta gets the finishing touch by adding the previously cooked bacon and more basil.

This dish was everything and more we ever hoped for. It was creamy and full of flavor, in a way it reminded me of Spaghetti Carbonara. Corn is certainly prominently featured in this recipe and shines in this dish. I served this with grilled steak and a simple side salad. This was a great meal that I will be making for sure the next time I'm entertaining. I thought it was a very unique way to take advantage of summer's corn bounty!

Fettuccine with Fresh Corn Pesto
(adapted from bon appetit)


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


Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon 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  samll bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into a food 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 minutes. Season pasta 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.


  1. Holy crap, you had me at corn. I love corn. Then you had to go and add bacon? Jeez. I'll be making this one for sure!

  2. What a creative use for corn! Ir really looks just insanely delicious! A nice summer comfort meal.

  3. That looks and sounds absolutely dreamy. Your photographs are gorgeous.

  4. I saw this in the magazine and I can't wait to make it. It looks delicious!!! I'm sold!

  5. That looks fantastic! Oh, how I wish I could come have dinner at your house! haha :)

  6. This pasta dish looks fabulous. I was really intrigued by the corn pesto too. I need to go back to my Bon Appetit magazine and take another read.

    First time to your blog! Love your profile description. I can totally relate.

  7. Corn on the cob is maybe my favorite part of summer :) This dish looks fantastic!

  8. This dish was fantastic! Thank you for featuring it on your blog. The sweetness of the corn really shone through. I cannot believe how creamy the sauce was without an ounce of cream. I will definitely be making this again!

  9. Becki Sue - I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish. It was an instant hit for us and I'm planning to make this many more times! :o) Thanks for stopping by and letting me know!

  10. Mmm, what a great way to use corn! Love it.


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