Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

 
Posted8/21/2019 6:06 AM

6 large ears of corn

5 bacon slices, cut into ¼-inch pieces

 

1 large garlic clove, minced

1¼ teaspoons coarse kosher salt

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted*

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

16 ounces Orcchiette, or medium sized shell, pasta

¾ cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs, and then, using the dull side of a knife, scrape the cobs to "milk" the remaining liquid from each cob. Set aside.

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.

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Add corn, garlic, salt, and pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer 1½ cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve.

Combine ½ cup Parmesan and pine nuts in bowl of food processor and process until smooth. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until mixture is combined. Place remaining corn mixture into processor. Pulse until smooth, but there are still visible pieces of corn remaining. Set pesto aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and ½ cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cup at a time, 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 ¼ cup basil leaves and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

* To toast pine nuts: Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes, or place nuts in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet immediately, or nuts will continue to cook.

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