A few weeks ago I made a Corn Chowder with Bacon & Basil that I absolutely devoured. Fresh and seasonal, I loved the contrast between the sweet corn, smoky-salty bacon and fragrant basil. So when I saw a recipe for Pasta with Bacon & Corn Pesto on Serious Eats last week, I decided I had to make it immediately.
Instead of going the pesto route with pine nuts and olive oil, I wanted something more reminiscent of creamed corn. I crisped my bacon, then cooked the corn in the bacon fat. I pureed some of the corn with a little cream and Parmesan cheese into a creamy yellow sauce which was tossed with the bacon and spaghetti and topped with basil ribbons and lots of freshly ground pepper.
This pasta is even better than the chowder. Same lovely flavor combination with all the addictive goodness of pasta. I followed my meal up with a juicy peach, making me glad that it’s summer despite the stifling heat. A perfect meal.
Corn Chowder with Bacon & Basil
Adapted from Serious Eats’ Pasta with Bacon & Corn Pesto
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into strips (I used Wellshire Farms Black Forest Bacon)
4 ears corn, kernels removed
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
Set a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until the fat renders and begins to turn golden. Remove with a slotted spatula to paper towels and set aside.
Add the corn kernels to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are just tender. Remove from heat and place half of the corn in a food processor or blender. Add the cream, cheese and salt and pulse until smooth. Return the creamed corn to the pan and mix with whole kernels.
While you’re preparing the corn, set a large pot of water to boil and cook your pasta until almost al dente. Transfer the pasta directly from the pot into the skillet, allowing some pasta water to transfer with the noodles. Add the bacon and pepper and toss the spaghetti with the corn until evenly coated.
Serve and sprinkle with the basil leaves and more Parmesan.
Makes 4 servings.