A recipe that brings the end of summer harvest together with fresh corn, zucchini and basil in a creamy, luscious pasta dish. Given my love of fresh corn I knew the moment I laid eyes on this pesto recipe in bon appetit that I would be making it in some form or another. In the back of my mind was this subtle craving for zucchini noodles mixed with long pasta that was patiently waiting for the right recipe to come along. This was perfect for it.
The pesto is made with quickly sauteed corn and garlic along with walnuts or pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pasta water is crucial for loosening up the pesto and turning it into a smooth sauce that will coat your noodles evenly. I found that it didn’t quite need all the pesto, so you can get two dishes out of one. I’ll post a recipe tomorrow using the leftovers.
The zucchini ribbons add a pop of freshness and lightness that balances out the rich and creamy sauce. The bacon is just as crucial as the pasta water for bringing out the flavor in the corn. It ties the whole dish together and really makes it sing. It’s salty, succulent, sweet, and savory all at the same time making it seriously satisfying. I urge you to make this while there’s still fresh corn and zucchini to be found in the market. It’s extra special and completely delicious!
Zucchini and Linguine with Bacon Corn Pesto
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
6 slices bacon
4 cups corn, fresh cut from about 6 ears
4 garlic cloves, minced, evenly divided
1 1/4 teaspoons sea or coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated, plus more for serving
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 -1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces linguine (like Barila whole grain)
1-2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 medium zucchini, cut in ribbons using a potato peeler or mandolin
1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy and brown, set aside on paper towels to drain. Drain grease from skillet all but 1 tablespoon. Over medium-low heat add corn, garlic, salt and pepper sautéing until corn is tender but not browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 and 1/2 cups corn to small bowl and set aside. Add remaining corn to the bowl of a food processor along with Parmesan, pine nuts and 1/3 cup basil. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth, set aside.
2. Start the pasta water cooking in a large pot of boiling salted water cooking until al dente and reserving 1 and 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Meanwhile in the same skillet heat 1 to 2 tablespoons over medium-low heat, add garlic and zucchini ribbons saute about 5 minutes just until zucchini starts to break down and becomes tender.
3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add half of the corn pesto and corn kernels, tossing over low heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta water by 1/4 cupfuls and additional corn pesto if needed until you get a smooth thin consistency and all the noodles are coated evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup basil leaves over top and serve with a sprinkle of bacon crumbles and Parmesan cheese.
I’m linking this to Heather of Girlichef’s Hearth and Soul bloghop.
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